Microsoft, Intel, NEC Pledge Cloud-based Digital Signage

NEC joins earlier Microsoft, Intel alliance to develop digital signage applications, form strategic collaboration for interactive and intuitive digital signage that includes cloud-based services.

November 15, 2010

D.H. Kass

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Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp. and NEC Corp. last week pledged to deliver a next generation digital signage platform, leveraging each other's technology and using cloud computing services to prompt innovation and technology integration.

Digital signage uses LCD displays, touch screens, projectors and pluggable media players in public settings to communicate information. The parties suggested that their collaboration was prompted by the fragmented nature of the digital signage industry, which, officials said, can be improved through the development of more intelligent, integrated devices.

“This alliance is a fundamental component to easing the fragmented digital signage industry as it exists now,” said Jose Avalos, Intel, director, Retail and Digital Signage.

NEC joins an earlier alliance Intel and Microsoft formed nearly a year ago to develop a platform for intelligent digital signage applications. The framework behind that collaboration is to leverage Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Standard 7 operating system and Intel’s Core processors to produce better digital signage solutions.

Now NEC will bring content management and media distribution solutions and services to the party. The companies said that they have talked about melding hardware, software, system integration and services to produce solutions that support digital content, interactivity, intelligence and life cycle management.

“This alliance is about innovating and collaborating in the growing global digital signage market to drive additional benefits to our joint customers,” said Masaru Takaishi, NEC general manager, Carrier and Media Service Solutions Division.

“NEC will empower the products and services to provide innovative digital signage solutions by leveraging our solution, expertise, experience in deployment, product technologies and power to cultivate the global market with Intel and Microsoft," he said.

The companies said that they will home in on four main areas, namely, new control devices and displays based on Intel’s Open Pluggable Specification (OPS), a blueprint the chip maker offered in early October to standardize the design and development of digital signage; software based on Windows Embedded Standard 7; enhanced audience recognition systems; and, technology upgrades to power management, displays, controllers and other system components.

Specifically, NEC said that under the collaboration it will produce a new controller module and display customized for digital signage and based on the OPS that will prompt low cost, high quality, reliable solutions. The company also said that it will improve its audience measurement solutions by make its age and gender recognition technology more accurate.

In particular, NEC said that it will leverage both Intel’s and Microsoft’s technology to improve its audience measurement technology, using the business intelligence capabilities in Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008 R2 software for a visual analysis of collected data, and the technology of both companies to make a controller that can manage software for digital signage and audience measurement on a single board.

“The proposed strategic partnership between Microsoft, NEC and Intel is another step forward for the digital signage industry by helping to ease the path for OEMs to quickly bring innovative products to market,” said Barb Edson, Microsoft senior director, marketing, Windows Embedded Business.

NEC showed off new digital signage products and solutions under the alliance at the iExpo 2010 last week in Tokyo, Japan. A demonstration of the integrated digital signage platform running Windows Embedded Standard 7 and Intel’s Open Pluggable Specification will be unveiled at the National Retail Federation show in New York City on January 9 – 12, 2011.

TAGS: cloud computing,Microsoft,Intel,NEC,digital signage

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