Mirada Media`s Powering COOPSCO`s In-store TV Network

We recently started deploying an in-store digital merchandising network for COOPSCO cooperatives which operate retail locations in francophone schools and universities in the province of Quebec.

Both the marketing arm of the headquarters for the cooperative and the independent retails have access to a web-based content management system to create and distribute content.  On a weekly basis, HQ provides ad campaigns created in Flash to supplement their paper-based marketing. Managers at the retail level get notifications in the form of a digest about new content and they can pick and choose ads based on their goals or inventory.

The retail locations can also create their own content based on templates to advertise products or communicate school events and charitable work.

Here’s a couple pictures of one of the locations in northern Montreal:

The complete release is below or download a PDF:

Mirada Media Provides Custom Signage Solution for COOPSCO’s In-store TV Network

The COOPSCO network of cooperatives, which operates retail locations in the majority of Quebec’s francophone colleges and universities, has selected Mirada Media to develop and deploy an in-store and point-of-sale digital signage network in the institutions it serves.

Mirada Media, a Montreal-based digital signage integrator and software developer, is pleased to announce its recent engagement with the Fédération québécoise des coopératives en milieu scolaire (FQCMS). Mirada has been selected to provide FQCMS with project and content management solutions for their in-store digital signage network at cooperatives in the educational sector, which operate under the COOPSCO banner.

The COOPSCO network, which includes 60 cooperatives with over 100 outlets inside French-speaking high schools, colleges and universities in Quebec, will be rolling out LCD screens powered by a custom version of Mirada Media’s ChannelView player and content management system at participating school supply and book stores, clothing boutiques and cafeterias.

COOPSCO chose to deploy digital signage not to replace other media, but rather to support their existing media channels and have it as an essential part of their integrated marketing communications strategy. “It was important for us to boost our message frequency and printed material does not always give us this flexibility,” says Paul Rondeau, Merchandising Director at FQCMS/COOPSCO. He adds that “the Web is good for us, but we must wait for customers to come visit us. On the other hand, the electronic displays have the reverse effect. We can blast messages to our customers and provide support to our website.”

Mr. Rondeau also notes that “Our first goal is to have the opportunity to advertise products quickly and in a visually dynamic way. By installing a digital signage system, we have managed to better inform our customers with a very short turnaround time. On the client side of things, we’re realizing that the signage interests them and that they’re eager to know about new promotions. It’s a good way to capture their attention.”

While digital signage is used primarily to promote products and specials, a significant part of the content for the COOPSCO network is dedicated to informing members about the cooperatives’ events, initiatives and profit-sharing program.

Although one of the goals of cooperatives is to work together for the mutual benefit of members, COOPSCO’s diverse locations and large footprint necessitated some content independence. Mirada Media customized its ChannelView web-based content management system to allow the Fédération to post ads to a collective media bank, from which store managers are able to select individual media files to display in accordance with their unique marketing strategies. The ability to display certain ads may be restricted by the Fédération in order to accommodate time-sensitive promotional campaigns such as limited-time or seasonal offers. Managers are automatically notified of new content postings via system e-mails and are able to mark items as “read” to better manage their campaigns.

Mirada Media will be including the functionality developed for COOPSCO into the next release of its flagship ChannelView digital signage software offering, slated for Fall 2010.

Free (or almost) Tools for Digital Signage

Digital signage takes a certain level of work and care so that everything goes off without a hitch. A number of the tools used to construct and maintain a digital signage network can be a little pricey, but we’ve found quite a few software tools & services out there that are free (or relatively inexpensive) that can benefit digital signage operators, big and small.

Slowly but surely, we’ll be publishing reviews on our favorite inexpensive tools. Here’s our initial list of tools, which we’ll be adding to as we encounter more:

  • GIMP: Image manipulation and compositing for PC, Mac & Linux
  • Inkscape: Software Vector Graphics creator and editor
  • DrawBerry: Mac OSX vector editor
  • Pixelmator: Mac OsX image editor
  • Audacity: Sound editor/recorder
  • Aviary: A full suite of creative RIA’s, including image manipulation and vector editing
    • Phoenix: Image Editor
    • Raven: Vector Editor
    • Peacock: Visual Laboratory…a modular image FSUpper
    • Toucan: Color Palette Editor
  • Xara: Low cost graphics software
  • Blender: Open source 3D application
  • Swift 3D:  Make 3D SWF’s
  • PhotoShop Express: Stripped down Photoshop RIA
  • VirtualDub: Simple video (AVI) editing
  • Toufee: RIA for creating Flash
  • Sumopaint: RIA image editor
  • Splashup!: Another RIA image editor
  • LogMeIn Free: Remote control
  • AVS: Video converter
  • Yammer: A Twitter clone but more “closed”, targeted to companies that want to modernize their corporate communications…why not use the feed in your digital signage?
  • Bluff Titler DX9: An inexpensive Windows app that uses DirectX to generate preset 3D text effects, backgrounds and other 3D animation.
  • Pixlr: Yet another online image editing program…so many of these! Who will win the war?
  • Adobe Kuler: An AIR app that until recently was online only used to explore and share color schemes. Great for inspiration or finding matching colors.
  • Seashore: An open source image editor for Mac OS X with Cocoa framework that enables the use of gradients, textures, text anti-aliasing, brush strokes, and other essential and basic image editing needs.
  • Daz3D: A free, feature rich 3D figure design and 3D animation tool that enables anyone to create stunning digital imagery.