REDMOND, Wash. — June 9, 2011 — When you’re riding in an elevator, your choices for where to look are typically limited to the wall, the counter that tells you which floor you’re on, or the backs of your fellow passengers’ heads. Microsoft partner Captivate Network, a Gannett company, offers an alternative: digital signage that delivers customized news and information to upscale professionals and visitors in office buildings throughout North America.
Captivate’s digital out-of-home media and marketing solutions, powered by Windows Embedded Compact (formerly CE), can be found in some of the most iconic buildings in the United States. You can spot them in the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center in New York; Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago; Gas Company Tower in Los Angeles; the Prudential Center in Boston; and Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, among others. In total, Captivate has nearly 10,000 screens in more than 1,000 buildings across the United States and Canada.
Captivate’s digital out-of-home (DOOH) media and marketing solutions.
Captivate co-founder Todd Newville recalls the earliest days of the company. “Digital signage is common today, but when we started Captivate in 1997, that term didn’t even exist,” he says. “But LCD screens were becoming less expensive, and embedded technology was becoming more advanced. The pieces were in place for us to lead the way in creating digital signage in the workplace.”
The company’s digital signage product consists of a high-definition LCD screen networked to receive programming via Wi-Fi. This makes it independent of its environment, meaning that regardless of conditions in the elevator or in the building, Captivate’s products can continue their service uninterrupted.
Captivate doesn’t just create the technology, however. The company operates as a service, providing installation, upgrades and new features. Captivate also creates the content displayed on its devices. Throughout the day elevator passengers receive tailored information updates, including national and local news, business, finance and travel, as well as original features and articles, such as movie reviews, technology products, recipes, fitness tips and viewer-submitted content features.
“The key to making our product great is providing something interesting for viewers to watch,” says Newville. “We spend a lot of time understanding what people’s needs are during different times of the day, and delivering programming to match. Our audience has very different informational needs first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and when they’re going home in the evening.”
Why does Captivate use Windows Embedded to keep its screens running in high-end locations across the country? Newville explains, “When we deliver our product to a customer, they know that they won’t have to keep calling us back in to restart or repair it. Windows Embedded Compact provides the flexibility to build the product exactly the way we want, and the reliability to ensure that it will keep running.”