It’s not just the inviting, warm smell drifting through the lobby. It’s the vision of hot, buttery popcorn piled high to overflowing in a bucket, or a super-cold beverage bubbling over clinking cubes that makes that cinema snack so irresistible.
Don’t care for popcorn? How about some chips drenched in cheese, or a sweet stash of candy? Do you see the new special? That looks good.
Ready to see a movie? Check out the animated movie poster, or the action-packed movie trailer playing right next to the show times. Wow! Which one to see?
Welcome to the age of digital signage. Now, instead of printed or lettered signage on backlit boards, movie theaters, restaurants, and quick stop stores are using colorful and often animated digital signs to better market their products. And DEEL! Media, LLC, knows how to present the product, how to color it properly, how to retouch for video, and how to animate products across a board for the best effect.
Better yet, the company’s digital signs are flexible and fast. Need three different menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? No need to take one sign down and replace it with another. All the menus appear electronically on the same digital sign. Prices can be changed. Yesterday’s special can be replaced with today’s, or a new product can make its delicious debut. Movies, showings, and theaters can be updated for this week’s offerings. And there’s no waste.
Amazingly, the firm headquartered in Alpharetta, GA, serves 35 clients in 600 locations all over the world with only five employees–including work for Regal Entertainment Group, Yum! Brands, Universal Studios theme parks, and Pilot Travel Centers.
Electronic changes can be made at the touch of a computer key, communicating with software on a terminal in the customer’s store. But as the company grew, it became clear to managing partner Bill Clapes that its hodgepodge of licensed software from other vendors wasn’t as efficient as it could be.
“The software we used didn’t really do what we needed it to do. We needed efficient management of a lot of different locations,” says Clapes. “To make it right, we would need our own platform.”
With a recommendation in hand from Atlanta investor Postec, Clapes contacted ProActive Technology in Greenville, SC, to start the process of software development. ProActive took the requirements for the new system and built a tailored web-based central content management system, and its interface. All of the content is stored and the changes are made on this system. This new application is called Carbon.
In addition, ProActive was asked to develop the distribution infrastructure to allow the many customer terminals to link to the central system.
“The customer’s machines had to be able to operate through firewalls without special configuration, download schedule information and media files, and automatically patch themselves when new updates were available,” according to ProActive’s Jon Hester, lead developer on the project, ProActive has experience with monitoring systems and could develop an intelligent file download system with a mechanism to deliver new versions automatically.
Clapes says his company’s growth will not be hindered by his technological capability any time soon. “We don’t know where the limits are. We haven’t even come close yet.”
The proprietary software is easily scalable as well, allowing DEEL! to license it to customers who can design and manage their own menus. Now, all of the licensing revenue contributes to the bottom line of the company, adding to its maintenance fee revenue. Because of the system’s efficiency, Clapes hasn’t needed to add any more employees to his staff.
Three years after Carbon’s launch, Clapes is ready to work with ProActive Technology again to build in some further features to the system.
“We’ve been very pleased with Carbon’s performance and its ability to do what we expected it to do,” Clapes says. “Even though we couldn’t describe what we wanted in development terms, ProActive Technology was able to ask the right questions and turn our requirements into a very productive application.”