Kurt Dupont is a solution provider who would go out of his way just to ensure he brings out the best when it comes to issues that has to deal with data-driven presentations, data visualization, and digital signage software. He started by working at airports worldwide to set up airport databases and flight information screens. This evolved to become the basis for PresentationPoint.
In this conversation, Kurt talks about SignageTube, a new cloud-based digital signage product.
Geetesh: Kurt, what does digital signage mean to you and where does PowerPoint come in the picture?
Kurt: Geetesh, more than 25 years ago, I started working at the airport. And, at the airport, I was building a central database with flights and resource information, and that’s where I got in contact with digital signage for the first time, because some of that flight information is displayed to the staff and passengers at the airport on television, on computer screens. So, that was my first encounter with digital signage. And, of course, that’s the extreme part of digital signage because they have data-driven digital signage.
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Geetesh: And where does PowerPoint come in the picture?
Kurt: So, even 25 years ago, they were using a scripting tool to design the screens, and so on. And, basically that was already then there, the functionality that PowerPoint is providing. So, you can add slides, you can use a landscape or portrait orientation, and you insert text boxes, pictures, and so on. So basically, digital signage is basically a presentation or a slide show that you run on a computer or a television screen. And PowerPoint has it all.
Geetesh: So now, you don’t have one, but you have two distinct product lines, you know, for digital signage using PowerPoint. Can you briefly tell us about both these options?
Kurt: Sure. So, at first we had our iPoint products. With iPoint, you can create playlists, you can add images, PowerPoint presentations and videos in a playlist, and then you can schedule that playlist for playback on remote monitors. So, that’s basically what iPoint is doing, and it’s copying and distributing the playlist files through that remote player. And, it’s starting that at the given time that you have indicated.
Now, we came up with SignageTube, which is completely built on all our technologies, and it’s also built in the cloud.
Geetesh: Awesome. So your new product, which is SignageTube, makes it so much easier for anyone to get started with their digital signage. Earlier, there was a sort of a learning curve, but now everything is wizard-driven, automated, and online. So, can you tell us what inspired and motivated you to create SignageTube, and in this way?
Kurt: We see it all the time, that competitors; that they have to use a very expensive Adobe After Effects designer to create videos and commercials for the company. Or on the other side, we see all the digital signage tools that are very simple. They are limited in functionality; you can just enter the text in the text box, or change the image on a slide. So it’s very limited.
So, it’s one way or the other. PowerPoint is a perfect fit in between and it’s ideal for digital signage, because you can build your own menu board on your information channel with PowerPoint. You can add multiple slides so you can use one slide for every promotion that you want to display in the shop, or, for every menu that you need to display in your restaurant. And, that’s the ideal purpose of using PowerPoint in digital signage. And also, within the SignageTube product, we provide a large library of digital signage templates that you can pick from and, and, and modify, according to your needs.
Geetesh: Yes, I have seen some of those templates. They are really awesome. So, Kurt, can you share some user scenarios, some sort of case studies of people using SignageTube, how they have been successful?
Kurt: Basically, every business can use digital signage. Think about fast food restaurants or takeaway restaurants. They change the menus every week, every month. So they have to send out the new price lists and the promotion from the headquarters to the different locations, the stores.
Or schools can use SignageTube to communicate with personnel, students and parents.
Or think about exhibition centers, who want to show schedules, way-finding in the building, next events, speakers and so on.
So, it’s basically a combination of infotainment and way-finding, which you also see in hospitals and factories as well. And even when you bring your car to a car dealer for a yearly maintenance, you are waiting in a waiting room and you can watch digital signage where you see promotions and new models of the cars or the brands and so on. So you always have advertising and infotainment, in every business.
Geetesh: So you can push entertainment, advertisements, information, anything you want media just by using SignageTube?
Kurt: Yes. You design it in PowerPoint. You add transitions, animations, and, you already already designed it. It’s very flexible to create and update running digital signage screens.
Geetesh: I do have one more question, and that’s about how does one approach SignageTube? What’s the learning curve? For someone who wants to use SignageTube, where do they get started?
Kurt: First of all, they sign up at the website SignageTube. They’ll get a few introduction emails. There are manuals online, but basically it’s very simple because you just have to add a Player to the system. You have to install the Player application on the system. And then, you can start sending presentations to that Player. Even in this phase now, that we have now, we can use SignageTube on a Smart TV, so you don’t need a computer so you can just use your computer to design your PowerPoint presentation. You uploaded the presentation to the SignageTube cloud and then the cloud servers are converting this PowerPoint file and sending it out to that Smart TV.