I joke with industry people that my new home city of Halifax is a bit of a black hole when it comes to digital signage activity, having moved here in 2018 from Toronto, which has long been an epicenter of the business.
The only directly active company in the vicinity is ScreenScape, and those folks are three hours away on tiny, beautiful Prince Edward Island.
So it was a somewhat novel moment when an AV/IT road show came through the city on Monday. I piled into my VW and drove over to see the local date of Ottawa-based distributor DataVisual’s national tech tour.
I got rundowns on Carousel’s longtime digital signage CMS (which can run on anything from a Windows PC to an Apple TV), Barco’s slick Unisee LCD video wall product, Crimson’s mounting systems, and a really interesting live video streaming in a box solution from Epiphan Video. The latter doesn’t really have a signage application, other than as an input, but being able to bring pretty much everything you need to live-stream an event, in a small backpack, was pretty interesting.
The one thing I saw that was truly new and different to me was from a Dutch company that a product called BalanceBox. It’s a display mounting solution, like many, but the distinction these guys have is the ability to lower or raise a screen to the most appropriate height just by gently pushing it.
There’s a big set of industrial springs hidden in behind, allowing a wheelchair user, for example, to roll up and easily shift the screen (important if it is a touch application) down to a more comfortable and useful height. It’s a bit hard to see, but these are the guts of the thing (see pic to right).
Kinda neat for things like retail applications, where a screen might sit up higher running marketing message, let’s say in an auto showroom, but easily be shifted down to be used as a touch-driven configurator. The main market, though, seems to be education.
The DataVisual tech tour stop in Halifax was the first in a series of events set for Eastern Canada through October. The tour has already hit western Canada cities.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.