In this videocast with Gary Kayye, Sean Matthews walks us through six products that Visix premiered at InfoComm 2019. He covers two new media players, the full Visix room sign line with new Connect and Touch UIs, and the latest features of their AxisTV Signage Suite digital signage CMS. We finish up with a live demo of Visix’s voice activated wayfinding.
Gary Kayye is an award-winning keynote speaker, and the founder and Director of THE rAVe Agency; a full-service new media creative agency serving tech. He teaches classes and lead workshops throughout the year on marketing, corporate and personal branding as well as digital and social advertising. He has built brand campaigns for more than two dozen companies in technology, and has been included in the Top 100 People You Should Connect With and Top-100 Keynote Speakers in the USA.
rAVe [Publications], founded in 1998 by Gary Kayye, is a news organization that provides coverage of the commercial (ProAV) and residential (HomeAV) audiovisual trade industries via e-newsletters, blogs, video, social media, and a variety of other mediums. The target audience for rAVe’s publications is what we call “AV Insiders” – AV dealers, integrators, consultants, designers, etc. that deal in the sale, specification, design and installation of audiovisual products.
Gary Kayye: Hey everybody, this is Gary Kayye, and you’re listening to a video ,or watching a video version of our Rants and rAVes podcast today. And I’m joined with my friend Sean Matthews, the founder of Visix. Hey Sean, how are you?
Sean Matthews: I’m very good, sir. How about you?
Gary Kayye: Doing well. Hey, your company, first off, congratulations on a great show. We shot a bunch of videos at your booth, both pre-show and during the show. All of those are on our microsite, which of course you can see the address here. We’ll cover that. I’ll link those in the description to this videocast. But for those that didn’t get a chance to go, this is sort of going to be like a little miniature booth tour of all the main things that you showed and introduced at the InfoComm show last month.
Sean Matthews: Yeah. We thought this would be a very effective way for those people who couldn’t make it to the event to show the six new things that we introduced at InfoComm.
Gary Kayye: Yeah. So why don’t you kick it off? I got you, you’re full screen now, and your videographer’s doing a great job holding the camera steady, so take it away.
Sean Matthews: All right. So hopefully she can keep it steady for the entire production here. The first thing that we introduced was a four-output video player. This is a multi-output player that really – when you get down to the brass tacks of cost – it’s less than $4,000 per port. So you can do portrait and landscape. You know, you can build some two-by-twos. You know, the sort of traditional video wall application at a very cost effective price point that ties into our digital signage solution.
Gary Kayye: So, the way the four ports work is like extended desktop in Windows, right? Where you’re able to build…you can either build it horizontally, vertically or in a monitor wall configuration.
Sean Matthews: Yup. You got it. So you can either put unique images on each screen, or you can span the entire quadrant so you have one big design.
Gary Kayye: Perfect.
Sean Matthews: So, the next item we introduced was our new Nano player, which this is our smallest form factor player, which is very small. You see by comparison here that it’s a very small device. This is a full Windows 10 IoT Enterprise Long-Term Service Branch 2016 OS platform, and this has been very well received as a cost-effective video wall player that can fit almost anywhere. And man, this thing has just been a rock star for us. And if you look at the software license, you can get this thing for less than $33 a month in terms of a subscription from us.
Gary Kayye: That’s really cool. That’s a neat little device.
Sean Matthews: Yeah. We’ve been very excited about this. So the thing I want to roll to next is our room signs, and we’ll cut in front of the camera here.
You know, we’ve been in the room sign business, Gary, for quite some time. It’s really a natural extension of our event calendaring system down to the door itself. We have the full lineup. So, we have electronic paper signs, which are based on the E Ink platform here, and only consume power when the event schedule is changed or edited.
We introduced a new version of our Android product, which this is a prepackaged software solution that runs on this platform here. And man, this thing is like a really killer product for those people that are most interested in just room booking and room management.
We also introduced our Touch 10 version tied to our new enterprise platform, which this is a fully customizable product here. So as you interact with this, you can customize every element of this. So yeah, even if you want circular buttons for keyboard buttons, or you want to change the backgrounds. You can see that this is for Alaska Airlines – it matches every facet of their architectural design. So this has been a very well-received product for those people that are looking to build a custom experience in a room sign environment versus the more traditional prepackaged software. So this is our complete lineup of room signs this year.
Gary Kayye: Yeah. And the other, the last two are PoE. And the first one, basically, since it’s E Ink it’s using a battery that lasts forever, right?
Sean Matthews: Yeah. So this uses six of those CR type batteries. You know, which fit in the back here. And again, it uses RF transmission to update the actual image on screen. Because really that’s what that is, is a static image. And this sort of bistable paper environment. And again, only consumes power when the image is being updated.
Gary Kayye: What, just out of curiosity, have you tested the RF range of those?
Sean Matthews: Yeah, so it varies unfortunately based on the environment. So if you have a building that has a lot of, you know, structures in the center of it or whatever, it does limit the RF transmission distance. So, it really is a function of the environment itself, wide open versus a very segmented or chopped up building space.
Gary Kayye: Good. All right, so what else?
Sean Matthews: So, we introduced all of this hardware stuff, and of course everybody really wants to talk about our digital signage software.
Before I talk about the two things that we introduced there, which would be enterprise and cloud – of course, the one thing that everybody wants to know is what does it look like on screen? And so right here is just an example of incorporating auto weather, but -updating data like stocks or we’re also showing some data visualization in Microsoft Power BI.
One of the neat things that we do here is the use of what we call “virtual Plexiglas” so that you can interact with elements of this on screen, but if there are areas that you don’t want people to interact with, like going to Facebook or whatever, you just layer this with some virtual Plexiglas and the image is still there, but you can’t interact with it. So it’s one way to create, you know, either limit interaction or expand interaction, because a lot of what people are talking about these days for the interactive customization and the interactive experience for digital signs versus just conveying static information across these displays. So I just wanted to point that visual out so you have some understanding of what our clients are typically asking for, and that is interactivity and data-mapped content.
Gary Kayye: Yeah, that’s really neat. I heard a lot of people talking about it. And of course, your signage software is very simple. It’s very PowerPoint like, but it looks a lot nicer than PowerPoint – no offense to Microsoft.
Sean Matthews: In fact, what you bring up is, it being very simple. You know, everybody talks about CMSs – they can be in the cloud, they can be on premise. But you know, mostly what the CMS is used for is content management, and content management is the one thing that people want to do quickly. So if this is the homepage for our product, what most people want to do is this, Gary. Basically, what they want to do is import a media file and schedule it to some place.
So, it’s as simple as choosing a file – and we’ll choose this one here, and we’re going to open it, and of course, then we’re going to import it. And then once it’s imported, we simply decide where we want it to play and when we want it to play. So we’re going to play one time finished here. And so it ends up in a playlist without anybody having to do anything. And this was that Georgia State thing that we just pointed to a second ago, which is now here. So it’s that simple in terms of like getting content into a CMS, right? And that’s what most people want to do in a cloud application.
So, you did bring up a sort of Microsoft Office-looking thing. And so this is our Design tool, which this is a Windows app that is synchronized to the CMS, whether it’s on-premise or in the cloud. And the advantage to this product here is that our product is designed for those people that are in the… Oops, sorry about that. I’m going to have to go back to this because I timed out on my log in there. So you’re going to have to give me just a second, but I’ll talk through this. But you know, most people are looking for something that looks like, you know, PowerPoint or Office applications, because basically that’s what they’re accustomed to and they’re used to that sort of workplace environment.
And so back to this, if we look at one of our layouts here, what this really allows us to do is, somebody that has some basic design skills and knows how to use this type of application can go into any particular layout – we’ll choose this one here – and you know, allows them to not only incorporate, you know, any sort of interactive artwork, but allows them to drag widgets out onto the surface.
So we have an ever-growing library of data widgets and all sorts of other widgets that we drag out onto the surface. And this one, for an example, is a countdown timer. So we drag this little countdown timer onto the desktop, and then we just put when the event is going to happen, and it automatically counts down. So it’s auto-updating content without anybody having to do anything after it’s created.
So, very powerful tools in terms of the design elements that you will not typically find in a browser-based CMS, because you can’t do a lot of these types of things in those sort of cloud CMS products where the design tool is built into the cloud. Often those things are limited template-type designs, which you know, everybody loves a template to start with, but they always want to edit it.
Gary Kayye: Yup, you’re exactly right. I was getting ready to say “everyone wants to edit a template”.
Sean Matthews: Yeah. It’s always fun to start with, but you want to make it look like ConocoPhillips or whatever your brand is. So I do want to talk about the last thing that we introduced at the event, which was wildly received. This was our voice activated wayfinding. I think I mentioned to you, we named it after the developer that created it.
Gary Kayye: Yeah, I remember that. I’m going to talk to it. Can I talk to it?
Sean Matthews: Well, we’ll give it a shot. Let’s see how well it does. Remember, “hey Andrew”.
Gary Kayye: Yeah, see if it hears, recognizes me. Hey Andrew, what’s a, show me how to get to the student union.
Sean Matthews: Yeah. And so, we had a little bit of a delay there. So Andrew, show me the room directory.
Gary Kayye: Oh, there you go.
Sean Matthews: And you’ll see it changes to the room directory. And it’s simple stuff, man. If you think about wayfinding, I’d be looking for things like, Hey Andrew, take me to Bank of America. And you’ll see it changes back to the floor maps and maps us to Bank of America from where we are. So, this has been very well received. You know, you can imagine in hospital markets where people don’t want to touch things as we discussed. But this is a, this piece is generating the most excitement this year.
Gary Kayye: Yeah. And what’s neat about it is, it’s not, you’re not incorporating Alexa with just a ton of stuff they don’t need. It’s purpose built and it’s simple to use.
Sean Matthews: Yes. And I mean, obviously that’s the most important thing. The challenge over time, as we discussed, will be building a library of commands that are associated with wayfinding. But that’s just a function of machine learning and it won’t take long.
Gary Kayye: Yeah. And I think that the customers will do it. They’ll figure it out because they’re going to know what they need in their particular application. So, it’s going to be hard to build a one-size-fits-all. It’s better to let them build it themselves through AI like you just mentioned, don’t you think?
Sean Matthews: Oh yeah, most definitely. And you know, the cool thing is you can incorporate not only the voice activated elements, but you can also still interact with the display itself. So, you get basically the best of both worlds in this sort of environment.
Gary Kayye: Well, congratulations on a great show. We certainly appreciate all the support you give us over the years covering the show. And we also love doing your videos. You always have a great level of excitement and the camera loves you.
Sean Matthews: Hey man, I appreciate it. So again, if you need anything from us, if you’re looking for more information about what we delivered at InfoComm this year, you can find us at visix.com – V I S I X .com.
Gary Kayye: And of course, I’ll put a link to all of this in the description of the podcast and a link to the videos that we shot, as well. This has been a videocast with Sean Matthew. Hey Sean, thanks again. I appreciate it.
Sean Matthews: Thank you, Gary.
Gary Kayye: Thank you for watching everyone and have a great day.