Intel Showcases Specification For Digital Signage

Intel on Friday unveiled a new Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) for digital signage, which is part of the semiconductor firm's effort to expand its IT footprint with a variety of computing technologies.

Digital signage is a form of electronic display that can be found in both public venues and private environments. The technology is capable of displaying a wide array of content through digital signs on LCD screens, touch screens or projectors. Digital signage offers the benefit of communicating adaptable, interactive information and technology with relative ease and opportunity for return on the investment.

Intel introduced the specification at the 2010 Digital Signage Expo in San Diego on Friday. During the keynote, the specification was presented as a means of standardizing digital sign design and development.

At the company's Channel Alliance Summit in August, Intel said digital signage was one of many technologies evolving toward PCs which it would pursue. The chipmaker also pointed to the key role of solution providers in advancing the technology by building and deploying digital signage solutions for hardware manufactured by Intel

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"CTL is currently exploring adding a digital sign line up to our product mix. We are excited about intel’s continued support and development for this market," said Erik Stromquist, COO of Computer Technology Link, a Portland, Oregon-based solution provider.

Next: The Specifics of Open Pluggable Specification

For system builders, the digital signage market can be an extension of their current business, one that presents an opportunity for Intel’s system integration channel, Stromquist said.

With OPS Intel is seeking to make the installation and management of digital signs more user-friendly. It would also help connect different segments of the digital signage market, making the technology smarter and more integrated with the rest of the IT stack.

The major players in digital signage technology provide support for OPS. These include: Microsoft, NEC Display Solutions, and the Taiwan Digital Signage Special Interest Group. Each of the companies spoke positively of the new technology and the opportunities it would provide by integrating the separate developments from each company. "The Open Pluggable Specification was created by Intel to address fragmentation in the digital signage market and simplify device installation, use, maintenance and upgrades,’ said Jose Avalos, director of Retail and Digital Signage for Intel's Embedded and Communications Group, in a statement. ’With the specification, digital signage manufacturers will be able to deploy interchangeable systems faster and in higher volumes, while lowering costs for development and implementation." The prototype OPS on display at Intel's conference was designed around an Intel Core processor on a Windows 7 platform. It also supports Intel Vpro and Keyboard-Video-Mouse capabilities, all of which can be upgraded and controlled remotely.

Digital signage applications are scalable depending on the specific task at hand, and are designed to be networked with other equipment. With more connected hardware, and a variety of technologies far beyond the microprocessor, Intel seems to be gaining ground within the IT ecosystem -- and among channel partners as well.