This week, Scala celebrates its 25th Anniversary! Over the weekend, our CEO Tom Nix caught up with Scala founder Jon Bøhmer for a timely online chat about Scala’s beginnings.
Jon Bøhmer: I think it is quite remarkable that Scala is the world's oldest independent multimedia company.
Tom Nix: I agree, look at what you started, an incredible achievement. Would love to hear your story, since I tell the story of the company from what I've heard second hand.
Jon Bøhmer: The back story is that I was turning 20 on Oct 10, 1987 and I was freaked out since I had not started my own company yet. So I ran down to the government office and registered it. The InfoChannel idea came a few months later.
I had graduated from high school that spring and was working in a hamburger factory to make money to buy my first Amiga. I was just going to run the company for a year before starting university just to get some experience... First I was just making videos for companies and events but then I talked to the local cable company and they were sending out letters every month to all the subscribers - this was required by law. So I said - hey, just connect the Amiga to the RF modulator - you will have your own channel, but they had no idea how to use it, even a mouse was a novelty back then. I designed a very easy to use thing, hired a friend to help code it, then I sold the two floppies for $2000. I had to pay my friend with food from my parents' farm since I had no capital.
When I made the first sale to the biggest cable company in Norway I knew we had something. We set up in Denmark within months. Then Sweden, UK and Holland. Then I got some more developers - Øyvind Harboe, Daniel Bloch and Jan-Ivar, and we started making the first networked version. Then we cut some features and made the MM100. Sold over five million of those for the Amiga. Pretty astounding when you realize they only made about ten million Amigas. It was bundled with every Amiga in the last few years.
I remember the early years better than the later ones because it was just so much more fun. The ultimate underdogs, but we always had the most amazing software. We did tricks that Apple only could do after OSX. Ten years ahead of Jobs the guru...
Tom Nix: Jon do you have any photos?
Jon Bøhmer: OK I have two photos. 1994 - the whole developer team:
(Scala team in Oslo, April 1994 —Inge Arnesen, Michael Sinz, Jan-Ivar Bruaroey, Jerry Horanoff, Thomas Hansen, Jon Bøhmer, Øyvind Harboe, Lars Hamre, Dana Williams, Daniel Bloch, Øivind Danielsen, Nico François, Scott Drysdale, Steen Hardy Danielsen, Jeff Porter, Ken Farinsky, André Tieg and Darren Greenwald.)
Jon Bøhmer: Many faces you will recognize. Peter Cherna, Jeff Porter, Jan Ivar, Darren Greenwald, John Orr.
Tom Nix: Peter still looks that age.
Jon Bøhmer: So one from 1989 – vintage. It's a Norwegian newspaper clipping:
Jon Bøhmer: Headline: "Boys with million visions". It talks about how we have signed a large deal and are setting up offices in Sweden and Denmark.
Tom Nix: Love it, and the acid wash jeans.
Jon Bøhmer: White socks mind you.
Jon Bøhmer: The photo was taken in my attic office on the chicken farm. My quote: "It has been hard to make people believe in us, but now things are looking up". So five years later you see the team on the steps outside the Oslo office. Quite a progression. The company was still called Digital Visjon. We changed to Scala the year after I think.
Tom Nix: Good stuff! Really enjoyed this treat tonight. Hope we can catch up soon.
We are pleased to announce Scala Software is bundled in new DSEK -12!
Scala Software takes full advantage of superior computing performance enhanced media and graphics capabilities of new Digital Signage Evaluation Kit 2012 (DSEK-12) from Intel, Kontron and Microsoft.
Scala software drives content creation, management and distribution in digital signage networks. Scala has certified the DSEK-12 as a Scala player, ensuring optimal performance for display manufacturers, systems integrators, software developers and digital signage users. Scala software fully leverages the latest, 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors in the DSEK-12 to produce and display visually stunning, broadcast-quality content in implementations ranging from a small number of screens to thousands of displays in a global network.
Click here to find out more and how to get your Digital Signage Evaluation Kit 2012: http://bit.ly/TXseFU
We are excited to announce that our digital communications software played an important role in the Olympic zone in London. Guests were able to share their joy and experiences while visited the Official Shopping Centre of London 2012 - Westfield Stratford City. This shopping centre added a live Twitter feed to its digital signage that allowed visitors to see their tweets and photos instantly on the massive video walls throughout the centre.
The Westfield shopping centre in Stratford has over 300 screens running Scala digital communications software. For the Olympics, our partner FTP Concepts implemented the live Twitter solution, which was expected to have processed and posted 50,000 tweets on the centre’s screens during the just completed Summer Olympics. The system included the Scala Live Campaign Twitter Moderator Tool, which enabled Westfield to ensure in real time that all content was acceptable and not inflammatory, removing the need for manual review.
Westfield Stratford City is a shopping centre in Stratford, London and owned by the Westfield Group. It is adjacent to the London Olympic Park and the third largest shopping centre in the United Kingdom by retail space.
Robyn Ellan, Manager of Internet and Database Marketing, Scala
This week’s media stories include Retail TouchPoints’ takeaways from their recently concluded webinar on mobile POS and TechDecisions’ tips on setting up digital signage teams. Hope you enjoy reading these stories along with a great visual on some digital displays surrounding the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Retail TouchPoints discusses key points reviewed in their recent webinar on leveraging mobile POS.
Setting up a team for digital signage initiatives can be difficult. This article examines the key players every digital signage team should have.
This post shows some dynamic digital signage surrounding the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Have a great weekend!
Stacey Schwind, Marketing Manager US, Scala
This week’s Scala media stories include tips for retailers by our expert Marcy Patzer on getting started with digital signage and a profile on an LED digital signage installation at Naples airport. Hope you enjoy reading these stories along with an article on mobile checkouts.
Scala’s retail expert Marcy Patzer provides five tips to retailers for effectively integrating digital signage.
This article discusses the Scala-powered LED digital signage installed at Naples, Italy airport.
Mobile Marketer discusses how mobile checkouts in retail stores can make the shopping experience for consumers seamless and a lot simpler.
Hammond Communications Group is a high-definition video production and web design company based in Lexington, Kentucky and a certified Scala partner. We recently spoke with their vice president of interactive media Craig Miller about the company’s approach to digital signage.
RC: Hammond Communications has a broad background in delivering multi-media communication solutions. How does this expertise help you in addressing customers’ digital signage needs?
CM: Our multimedia production capabilities have definitely had a major impact on our ability to deliver comprehensive, cost-effective, customized digital signage solutions. We’ve been creating and delivering content for more than 33 years and our unique experience and skill sets were ideal for launching and building our digital signage department—as many of the services necessary to offer comprehensive, turnkey digital signage solutions are the same as we have been providing for other mediums.
RC: Your company services a range of markets, including equine, sports, corporate, health and government. Can you discuss for our readers how Scala software enables you to address such diverse industries?
CM: Out of the box, Scala’s platform is remarkably flexible. It has everything you need to operate a simple network, yet it is also ideal for larger, far more sophisticated networks. It also offers advanced customization, meaning we can easily integrate third party data into our solutions, such as POS integration into menu boards for restaurants, AS400 / financial data into interactive touchscreen solutions for horse sales companies, or parsing and formatting XML data from a hospital’s existing schedule of events system. The fact that Scala is so flexible, and that we can now also utilize Scala’s web services for additional integration with the Scala platform, there really isn’t anything you can’t do with the Scala platform.
RC: Let’s look a little deeper at your healthcare presence. Can you share the ways healthcare providers are using digital signage?
CM: We’ve partnered with savvy healthcare facilities, such as Cincinnati Children’s, Christina Care and Holzer Clinic, to utilize digital signage as a means of improving their communications with all audiences on their campuses. Their marketing departments are utilizing digital signage in lobbies, waiting areas, and outpatient satellite locations. Food and Nutrition Services are promoting wellness, highlighting healthy menu choices and providing nutritional information on items offered within their cafeterias. Internal Communication Departments are providing hospital staff with time-sensitive, important information, and patient education is now vastly improved via interactive touchscreens within patient rooms where patients, nurses and doctors have access to assets (e.g., video) that are germane to each individual patient. Basically it’s all about the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.
Robyn Connelly, Manager of Internet and Database Marketing, Scala Inc.
This week’s media stories include commentary by our retail expert Marcy Patzer and our marketing expert Dave Palermo. Hope you enjoy reading these articles along with our blog post on Digital Signage Japan!
Our retail expert Marcy Patzer discusses five tips for retailers to help them make the most out of their digital signage investment.
Our VP of Global Marketing Dave Palermo discusses ways digital signage can boost marketing.
Read all about how Scala made its presence felt at the recently concluded Digital Signage Japan 2012.
Stacey Schwind, Marketing Manager US, Scala Inc.
Since our market entry more than eight years ago, Japan has been instrumental to Scala’s strategic business plan.. We have been able to achieve significant market share in Japan for large-scale digital signage networks in verticals such as retail and transportation.
Digital Signage Japan is a very special event for us as we have had a prominent presence every year since the show’s inception. This year was no exception, as we exhibited with our partner Hitachi, demonstrating a range of innovative solutions. Among the solutions showcased were transparent displays, intelligent light controls, background projection displays, Scala Fling and interactive digital menu boards.
While our company strategy is strongly end-user focused, Scala works with the best partners to deliver total solutions. Our partners consistently tell us that they value our software’s stability, customizability and compatibility and ability to connect with virtually any data stream running on standard web protocols.
Included among the Scala partner solutions highlighted in our booth were:
Another booth attraction was the Future Concept Zone where show attendees could join Scala and our partners to see innovative products, as well as discuss new ideas and the reinvention of content design. It was a great place to learn about Scala’s vision for where digital signage is headed.
Guillaume Proux, our vice president responsible for Scala's APJ operations, participated in a panel session with over 90 systems integrator attendees. Guillaume presented on “Big Data Meets Signage” which looked at how to deliver digital communications solutions that drive business performance.
This week’s stories include a study on millennials about their buying behavior and another one on how RFID technology is changing retail. Hope you enjoy reading these stories along with the article on Ben & Jerry’s digital signage installation.
A recent study found that millennials rely equally on brick-and-mortar stores and technology to access information on a product they are planning to buy.
A thought leadership article on how RFID technology is transforming the retail shopping environment by enhancing the shopper’s experience.
Following up on our recent announcement, Hospitality TechDecisions published a story about the Scala-powered digital signage installation at Ben & Jerry’s Japan.
Have a great weekend!