e-Sign™ Enabling Platform Set To Revolutionize Global Media Distribution
by June Campbell, October, 2000
Vancouver-based Nexmedia Technologies Inc.(www.nexmedia.com) is planning the official release of a new technology expected to revolutionize the way that digital multimedia content is distributed and displayed around the world. The new product, e-Sign™ (patent pending), will launch in Tokyo on October 16th.
The e-Sign™ system is the world's first complete B2B ecommerce solution. It is a multimedia-enabling software platform that incorporates a suite of tools for the creation, scheduling and distribution of digital video media. The system incorporates Nexmedia's proprietary MPEG-4 compression technology, allowing high bandwidth streaming media. (The media will play back on any Internet-enabled playback device.)
Users of the new e-Sign™ platform will be issued access codes to Nexmedia's web portal (www.nexmedia.com), allowing them to download the playback device's software to their own computer. They can then import any existing media files or license multimedia content that is available at the portal. After compiling the files, the user schedules the media to play back immediately or according to an identified timetable. The next step is to distribute the media to a playback device located anywhere in the world. A company in Hong Kong, for example, could log in to Nexmedia's site, create advertising content, then schedule the advertisement to play on a device at a checkout line in a store in Paris or New York. "What would it be worth to Calvin Klein to broadcast multimedia content to shoppers on an escalator heading up to the perfume counter?"said John Quee, CEO of Nexmedia. "The advertiser could even tie it into a time-limited special at this location only."
The e-Sign™ system has been developed to facilitate the 22 billion-dollar emerging out-of-home advertising industry -- an industry that, according to Forrester Research, is expanding at the rate of 15% to 20% per year. Industry statistics have shown that point-of- purchase advertising consistently produces a 20% increase in sales. Nexmedia anticipates that display networks will grow at an enormous pace, thanks to their profound impact on sales and to their ability to reach mobile consumers.
A few companies have developed limited software applications for multimedia distribution, but there are no global standards and existing networks tend to be isolated with limited functionality. John Quee likens the existing situation to the time before MS Word became the industry standard for word processing software. "Various word processing software packages were available, but each had its own unique format, incompatible with the others. When Word emerged as the dominant global standard, exchanging digital information became possible," said Quee. "Similarly, we anticipate that e-Sign™ will become the new global standard for multimedia creation and delivery."
e-Sign™ content can play on a wide range of devices, including Jumbotron™, plasma monitors, outdoor LED displays, LCD, HDTV, traditional television monitors, computer screens and emerging Internet appliances such as cellular telephones enabled with WAP protocol, Palm Pilots and I-mode. The playback devices are enabled with a static IP address and with the proprietary e-Sign™ software. The content can be delivered via satellite, wireless networks and traditional telephone or television cables.
Nexmedia's product is a full B2B e-commerce application that enables the buying and selling of digital media files and all hardware related to the out-of-home advertising industry. It also enables the buying and selling of time and space on playback devices around the world. As financial transactions occur between advertisers and device owners, who accept the content for display, funds are transferred from bank account to bank account.
Designed with a two-way architecture, e-Sign™ monitors playback devices at ten-second intervals. After distributing digital content, a returning stream of intelligence confirms that the content has been played. The system then issues affidavits that are used for billing purposes or for generating online reports for customers.
Over the past months, beta testers have used e-Sign™ for varied purposes. Feedback has been positive. David Park, the Assistant Managing Director and Chief Economist of the Vancouver Board of Trade has been using the system to control displays of economic exhibits, including both slides and indicators of government debt and interest. "We think it (e-Sign™) has the potential to be of substantial benefit to those who are endeavoring to control point of sale devices. We are still in the early stages, but our initial take is that it will serve our purposes very well."
Ticketmaster Canada Ltd. has been testing the e-Sign™ system in a number of their self-service ticketing kiosks located in Vancouver. "e-Sign™ has successfully been able to display the schedule of coming events and additional information that is important to our customers. We look forward to working with Nexmedia to expand this concept across the country, " said Tom Epplett, Vice President of Corporate Development.
Another tester, Mark Spevakow, VP of Technology/Business Development at Lightvision Media Network, said, "It's a unique product in the industry. We've been testing the product and have just started to play with it. We will probably be using it shortly to go live with our screens in downtown Vancouver outside the BC Place Stadium."
Initial business development efforts are focused on Asian markets due to the existence of advanced technology infrastructure. Demand for efficient broadband media distribution and a high adoption rate of new technology. Quee reports that the goal is to establish strategic alliances and license the e-Sign™ on a country-by country basis. "We are looking for companies who are interested in acquiring an exclusive e-Sign ™ license, for their geographic location or market niche. In turn, they will roll e-Sign™ out to various clients in new or existing distribution networks," explained Quee.
Nexmedia Technologies is currently seeking strategic partners around the world. It trades on the Canadian Venture Exchange under the symbol NXM.