Capital Networks Marks 30 Years In Business

April 20, 2021 by Dave Haynes

In an ecosystem that still … STILL … sees new software companies popping up with their own spin on a solution, it’s kind of crazy to think there are digital signage companies out there marking three decades in the business.

One of the oldest, by far, is Toronto’s Capital Networks, which is marking 30 years in business this week.

The company started out doing software for cable TV systems – the sort of thing that shows multiple data sources at once or rolls through a list of what’s on TV, right now.

Capital found its way into digital signage via, I’m pretty sure, the old Elevator News Network, which put screens in guess where all the way back in the late 1990s. I know this because I was VP Ops of that company, and we bought a lot of Capital’s servers and software, back in the day when we were hard-wiring the output from the video server and running it down 100s of feet of coaxial cable to screens in each elevator cab.

Ghastly expensive, but it worked.

Capital has since branched its software into all kinds of use-cases, and it has developed a nice, smart little niche in solutions for municipal governments. That may sound boring, but stop and think how many municipalities are out there. Hint: LOTS!

The company has been a stalwart supporter of 16:9 for many, many years.

One of the most compelling things about Capital is its stability. MOST of the people I deal with in 1999 – from developers to the executive team – are STILL there. In a world where people are hopping between companies every few years, hanging on to the same people for all those years says a lot.

Congratulations Jim Vair and team!

Here’s the note on the company website:

Our company began operation back in 1991 when Capital Networks Founder, Bil Trainor teamed with Jonathan White, Founder and President of DiGiMATiON Incorporated and opened shop in a small office space in the Town of Markham. Over time the Town of Markham grew to become the City of Markham and Capital Networks grew along with it, moving all the way across the parking lot to the much larger unit we still call home today.

With roots in the broadcast and cable television industry Capital Networks supplied and supported local news channels and playback systems to some of the largest communications channels in the world including Rogers Communications, our very first client.

We are very proud of the fact that Rogers Communications has been with us every step of the way and remains a valued client to this day.

In more recent years, the main focus of the company has been on the expanding Digital Signage market with a strong emphasis on communications signage in the Healthcare, Municipal, Corporate, Education and Hospitality verticals.

We would like to take this time to thank all our valued customers for your support and partnership throughout the years. Every day brings new projects with new challenges in this fast-moving industry and we look forward to every one of them.

Which leads us to the Capital Networks family. We have had the absolute pleasure of working with exceptional people throughout our 30 years. Some have been with us for nearly the full 3 decades. Dedicated, tireless service with a smile. If you’ve ever had to place a 2am service call with us (you probably haven’t) you know exactly what we mean. Thank you to all our staff throughout the years for all the hard work that made 30 a possibility.

Capital Networks could not be the company it is today without the vision, perseverance and mandated laughter of company founder Bil Trainor. Mr. Trainor was very sly in recently announcing his official retirement during a pandemic year seemingly to avoid the close contact celebration his dedication to the industry so rightly deserves. But this situation won’t last forever. There will be hoopla. Stay tuned.

On behalf of everyone in the Capital Networks family, thank you for your ongoing friendship and support. We hope you’ll continue to stay safe. As Mr. Trainor would say, Great Days Ahead.

The other senior citizen companies I can think of are Scala, Korbyt (as the old Symon Communications), Omnivex and Rise Vision. There are undoubtedly others, but like these companies, I’m old. Pffft.

  1. Jim Vair says:

    Thanks Dave. It’s been quite a ride, and yes you were there for some of the very early, and interesting, parts of it.

    Not able to celebrate this milestone the way we’d like to, but lots of time for that once we’re able to gather again.

    Stay well!

  2. Ian says:

    Jim- congrats… this will date me a bit, but I used the DiGiMATiON software at Headline Sports when I was in University. I was an MCR op there, and it ran “the ticker that never sleeps” as they used to say. It was also running “Scoreboards” a PC that rand scores that we switched to when the video server crashed!

    In many ways, what it could do, showed me what automated data/info could accomplish, and brought me to the business that’s been my career.

    Cheers to one of the “Mercury 7” of this industry. – Ian

  3. Jim Vair says:

    Thanks Ian – yes, we’ve been strolling down memory lane with a few of our products -and the Headline Sports chapter was an interesting one. Channel 500 on Rogers is a reminder of our early headline sports days – still chugging along.

  4. Hey Jim, Congratulations on hitting this impressive milestone.   As your Sony rep way way back in the day,  I clearly remember having to book a sample plasma display back into demo inventory following one of  the “proof of concept” tests Bil had set up.  The logo of your bank customer was prominently “burned” into the top left hand corner of the display.  So “proof of concept” testing to see if there was any future in this thing called “placed-based” advertising using a display technology that wasn’t quite fit for use yet..  Ah- the good old days!
    John Youngson

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