Leading Digital Signage into Standardization, NEXCOM Seizes Business Opportunities in OPS Industry

Foreward:
In the past, the digital signage industry lacked a unified standard, making integration of peripheral devices difficult. Eventually in the fourth quarter of 2010, the industry saw the light and debuted the Intel® Open Pluggable Specification (OPS), which defined a unified standard and opened up many new business opportunities.

With the financial crisis in 2009, the consumer electronic industry took a drastic downturn, while the digital signage market experienced upward growth and quickly became a new building block for businesses. However, the implementation of digital signage required the integration of seven major factors: design, software, hardware, network connection, signage content, logistics and business model. Without a common standard to follow, integration soon became an obstacle for vendors, which ultimately hindered the development potential of digital signage.

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General Manager of NEXCOM’s Vertical Industry Platform (VIP) division, Steven Wu points out that because of the unique business model of digital signage and previous lack of standards, the amount of investment put into it was restricted. Therefore, users had no choice but to choose incomplete solutions from a very limited number of suppliers. Wu explains, “The excessive amount of incompetent devices has greatly sabotaged the profit benefits and goals that digital signage bring.”

With the introduction of the OPS standard, a common design guideline finally comes into existence for the industry. The OPS standard defines a universal mechanical dimension and a standardized electrical interface for the player and digital signage display, allowing interoperability between different brands. Users no longer have restrictions to specific brands, while system integrators establish connections between the player and display using signals such as HDMI, DisplayPort, UART and USB. Besides overcoming the integration problem, this flexibility allows system integrators to develop rich embedded features with components such as camera lens, thermal printers, RFID or fingerprint sensors to create a distinct product.

OPS Ignites Extensive Business Opportunities
Steven Wu also notes that apart from overcoming the interoperability issue between different brands, there are two main forces driving the “OPS effect” into the industry. Firstly, OPS is based on modular design; any OPS compliant display can easily upgrade to newer technology and keep pace with semiconductor technology, increasing graphic and processing capability continuously to meet more advanced applications requirements.

Secondly, Intel® AMT may be implemented within OPS modules to perform multiple remote management functions such as switching on or off the display, firmware or software updates, repair corrupted operating systems, or troubleshoot hard drive failures. More importantly, Intel® AMT keeps track of detailed information on hardware and software inventory, helping users monitor and manage a large number of deployments and ensure error-free operation.

Interestingly, the cable-free design of OPS allows seamless connection between the display and player, while the modular design provides a quick method to separate them both; this unique plug-and-play trait give users a friendly way to perform upgrades or maintenance quickly without the need to dismantle the display, which can be a costly process.

There is a recent rise of RISC platforms as mobile devices are becoming more widespread due to its low-power characteristic, which makes an attractive feature to switch to x86 platforms. Wu envisions that the computing and graphic performance of multi-core RISC platform will increase continually as technology advances, when combined with Android’s user-friendly interface, there is a huge future growth potential.

Integrating Interactive Technology, OPS Expands Its Application
Wu explains, by using the built-in signals of the connector, vendors are able to design the OPS displays as interactive digital signage with infrared motion detect cameras, as well as advanced technology such as video analytics and facial recognition, taking the application to a next level.

OPS is also making its way into interactive whiteboards, video conferencing, high-end projectors and digital cinema applications. Keeping this in mind and to test the waters, NEXCOM introduces the NDiS OPS-M50 (2nd generation Intel® Core™ processor family) and the NDiS OPS-M51 (Intel® Celeron® Processor B810E) in late 2011. Then in November 2012, NEXCOM releases the NDiS M532, based on 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor family. In 2013, NEXCOM plans to release more OPS modules based on next-generation technology and will be available in low and high-end configurations to address different market needs.

Wu believes that technical expertise, experience, value-added features and services are the key to unlocking the doorway to the OPS industry successfully. The following are NEXCOM’s advantages within the industry: first, NEXCOM has been in the industrial computing industry for 20 years and specializes in developing reliable solutions for daily operation. Secondly, NEXCOM offers a full range of interface cards, modules and functional systems as well as low and high-end x86 and RISC platforms to meet different project needs. Lastly, NEXCOM provides features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G connections are supported via a mini-PCIe expansion slot.

In addition, NEXCOM has a professional team of digital signage software experts that can offer plug-and-play solutions with value-added functions such as gesture control, GPS connectivity and multi-touch screen to meet a broad range of applications. Moreover, NEXCOM provides fast and expert sales consulting services in 14 locations worldwide, with assembly lines and repair centers distributed globally in Europe, United States, China and Taiwan to provide localized services and promote economic growth.

About NEXCOM
NEXCOM International Co Ltd. is an Associate Member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, NEXCOM is committed to being your trustworthy partner in building the digital infrastructure. NEXCOM offers innovative and versatile industrial computing solutions and security surveillance applications built around industry leading technology, localized customer support and worldwide logistic services.

Intel® and Intel® Celeron® are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.


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