Steve Harris, general manager of Cineplex Digital Solutions, shows off digital signage the company created for The Beer Store.
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Steve Harris, general manager of the Cineplex Digital Solutions office in Waterloo, looks forward to the move.
"We really have run out of room here," he
said of the company's existing space on McMurray Road.
The new space not only will enable growth, it will be better suited to what the group does, he
Soon after, Harris joined Kirkpatrick as a partner.
"You could send a still photo over an ISDN line (a switched telephone service capable of transporting voice and digital data) over to another computer and display it on a CRT (cathode ray tube) television," Harris
A lot has changed since then.
"All of the things that have happened with software, bandwidth, and flat screen display technology have really enabled this industry," Harris
"We are an end-to-end services company when it comes to digital signage," said Harris
The company's customers have included Labatt Breweries, The Beer Store, Coca-Cola
, Holt Renfrew and Rogers Communications.
It manages the displays for the ONroute service centres along Highway 401.
The screens can be of any size.
"We did work for the Air Canada Centre
and some of those displays can get quite large," Harris
With the development of powerful smartphones and tablets, as well as touch-screen technology and gesture-controlled screens, the digital display industry is again evolving, Harris
Property owners want to use the new technology to create "architectural media" that transforms a space into something that is compelling and engaging rather than just displaying a message or an ad, he
"Architects work with glass, steel, concrete and all those traditional architectural elements, but media screens are another element they can work with ... they can use media to transform a space in way that they couldn't if they just put in a fountain."
Cineplex Digital Solutions
teamed up with Kitchener-based Christie Digital
to create a unique digital display wall for Scotiabank at the Yorkdale Mall
Christie's MicroTile technology coupled with the Cineplex Digital Solutions
concept and design created "a true architectural media piece and something very sculptural," Harris
team either develops original content or works with what the client already has, he
"They might have a commercial that they want to use but since most digital signage networks don't support audio, we can take that video and rework it with supporting text to make it appropriate for the digital signage medium."
The advent of powerful smartphones is changing the industry, Harris
People can now use their smartphones to interact with an animated digital sign in order to get prizes, coupons or deals.
They might connect to a game that is part of a marketing campaign.
"I think gamification will become much more important," Harris
In shopping malls, the combination of digital signage and smartphones will do anything from help you navigate around the mall and find deals on items you might be interested in to help you find your car after you leave the mall, he
"All of that is now part of that same digital ecosystem."
Waterloo has been a great place to develop this part of the Cineplex business.
It is close to the Communitech Hub, home to numerous digital media companies, the Canadian Digital Media Network, and the University of Waterloo's Stratford Campus
, which focuses on generating digital media talent.
"So there is a huge talent base here and it makes a lot of sense to be here," Harris