Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision chosen for Air Canada Centre

June 30, 2008

Mitsubishi Electric has been chosen by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) to supply and install a breathtaking new 17-screen high-definition scoreboard and display system at the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs ice-hockey team and the Toronto Raptors basketball team. Combining multi-sided and linear displays, the new cutting-edge Diamond Vision system will provide the Air Canada Centre with the most advanced video displays of any arena in Canada.

ACC Diamond Vision_tmb The centrepiece of the centre-hung scoreboard display will a four-sided 6mm “Black Package” Diamond Vision screen. The Air Canada Centre system will be the first in the NHL/NBA market to feature Black Package LED technology. Now available on Mitsubishi Electric’s 6mm, 4mm and 3mm displays, Black Package provides superior contrast and black levels over conventional white packaged LEDs; its special black construction allowing the LED chip to blend virtually unnoticeably into the black face of the display.

“The black package LED represents the most cutting-edge technology available for indoor display systems,” said Elan Azar, general manager of Mitsubishi Electric Sales, Canada’s Display & Imaging Solutions Division. “Mitsubishi installed the first high-definition LED display in the arena market at TD Banknorth Garden in 2006, and the first 6mm high-definition LED display in 2007 at the Verizon Center. We are very excited to introduce this latest technological advance to the arena marketplace by installing the first 6mm black package LED Displays right here in Toronto, at a world-class facility such as Air Canada Centre.”

“This installation confirms once again Mitsubishi Electric’s reputation for quality, performance and proven reliability in arena display technology. The Diamond Vision system continues to lead the technology curve and set the standards in the arena marketplace,” noted Azar.

The selection of Diamond Vision came after exhaustive research by MLSE officials, who compared the displays in use at numerous arenas throughout North America before selecting the Mitsubishi Electric product. “Of the systems we saw, the Mitsubishi Diamond Vision boards were consistently superior in uniformity and reliability,” said Dwayne Brown, technical producer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “Plus, being able to showcase the black package LED is particularly exciting given Air Canada Centre’s status as a world-class facility.”

The 6mm main displays will utilise Mitsubishi Electric’s state-of-the-art Digital Screen Controller, driven by a high-definition 1080 HD source from Air Canada Centre’s new 1080 high-definition control room. In addition to the black package 6mm main video displays, Mitsubishi Electric is using 10mm display technology for additional eight-sided upper displays and four-sided scoring displays, as well as a 22m long circular ring. Mitsubishi Electric is also supplying a new integrated scoring system consisting of all new shot clocks and ANC’s state-of-the-art VisionSOFT control system.

“After extensive research and reviewing several installations in different venues, Mitsubishi proved to be the clear winner in the large screen display industry with their technology, quality and price,” said Curt Emerson, manager of venue services and content deployment for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “We are very excited to debut our new high-definition Mitsubishi Diamond Vision video display at Air Canada Centre this fall.”

Toronto fans can expect the new display system to be competed by August 1, 2008 in time for the upcoming NHL and NBA seasons.

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NTT, Dentsu and others to cooperate on Digital Signage

June 30, 2008

Japan’s biggest financial daily reported that NTT will develop a service that links high-speed communication lines with digital signage in commercial facilities for real-time content delivery. This fall, Mitsubishi Electric, Matsushita Electric, Dentsu and Recruit will conduct joint trials. In line with NTT’s development schedule, service providers will link with the Next Generation Network (NGN) standard, which was commercialised in March, to aggregate advertising content delivery.  NTT is aiming to commercialise the business in 2009.


Japan’s bloggers show us the future

June 25, 2008

Blogging and participation in social media services is growing more popular with each passing month, and nowhere more so than in Japan. In fact, when it comes to the popularity of web 2.0, Japan is a world leader. According to Technorati, Japanese is now the commonest language in the blogosphere at 37%, and is in the top five countries in the world for the number of blogs  – an amazing achievement if you think of the relative size of the country compared to, say, the US. As well as being amongst the most prolific writers, the Japanese are the most avid blog readers, with 74% of people regularly reading blogs. But all that pales in comparison to the numbers participating in social networking sites.

A number of popular services are now available in Japanese, including MySpace, but by far the most popular is Mixi. Boasting over 14 million users and one million interest communities, the popularity of Mixi is quite extraordinary. Mixi clocks up 10 billion page views a month. The mobile version is even more popular: In January 2007, Mixi Mobile recorded 100 million page views in a single day! Another mobile-only service, Mobagetown, gets around 15 billion page views a month.

The popularity of web 2.0 in Japan is driven by the country’s highly developed telecoms infrastructure – particularly for mobile devices – which is several years ahead of the US and Europe. High-speed fibre internet connections are common, with speeds of 100mbps and above, and the use of web services on mobile devices is extremely popular. In technology terms, where Japan leads, the world follows and it seems certain that the trends seen in Japan will be repeated globally as wide-area social networking becomes more an integral feature of our culture.

Yet in spite of this strong predicted growth, many companies have been slow to pick up on the trend – clinging to outdated methods and increasingly ineffective communication channels to promote themselves. I was chatting to an editor of a well-known electronics magazine the other day, and he was laughing about a PR company that still sends him paper press releases with a printed photograph. The online delivery of content is a fact of life now and, as the Japanese experience shows us very clearly, certain to become ever-more important in coming years.


The power of the internet still under-utilised by business, says new report

June 24, 2008

The internet has 10 times more influence than traditional print media on the average consumer, says a report from global PR agency, Fleishman-Hillard. According to PR Week, the company interviewed 5000 internet users in the UK, France and Germany to determine the influence that the internet held over their buying patterns. The study concluded  – not surprisingly perhaps – that the internet was the most powerful medium for this group, with television second and traditional print media ambling in a disappointing third. The report cites travel, leisure and health as the sectors most dependent on internet usage.

Whether these results would be accurately duplicated within the industrial world is debatable; nevertheless, the fact that the internet wields incredible power in the b2b world is undeniable. And this makes another key finding of F-H’s research entirely relevant.

Despite all the evidence pointing to the diminishing effectiveness of ‘traditional’ approaches, promotional budgets are still grossly slewed towards print advertising, with online spend only making up a paltry 8% of the total in 2007. The report also notes the increasing influence of online PR , as advertising planning fails to adapt to the web 2.0 world. Yet many companies are apparently still cautious about using the power of PR to reach and influence customers. Surprisingly, it appears that technical b2b businesses are the the worst culprits.

While PR can sometimes seem like a black art, the simple fact is that a well-written press release can reach parts of the internet – and therefore customers – that other forms of communication simply cannot reach.  Well-written in this case means being accessible by both human and non-human readers. Combined with basic search marketing and clever dissemination, well-written PR is an extremely effective way to reach out to potential customers at a fraction of the cost of an advertising blitz.


Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision chosen for Air Canada Centre

June 24, 2008

Mitsubishi Electric has been chosen by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) to supply and install a breathtaking new 17-screen high-definition scoreboard and display system at the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs ice-hockey team and the Toronto Raptors basketball team. Combining multi-sided and linear displays, the new cutting-edge Diamond Vision system will provide the Air Canada Centre with the most advanced video displays of any arena in Canada.

Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision scoreboard, Kolnarena The centrepiece of the  scoreboard display will a four-sided 6mm “Black Package” Diamond Vision screen. The Air Canada Centre system will be the first in the NHL/NBA market to feature Black Package LED technology. Now available on Mitsubishi Electric’s 6mm, 4mm and 3mm displays, Black Package provides superior contrast and black levels over conventional white packaged LEDs; its special black construction allowing the LED chip to blend virtually unnoticeably into the black face of the display.

“The black package LED represents the most cutting-edge technology available for indoor display systems,” said Elan Azar, general manager of Mitsubishi Electric Sales, Canada’s Display & Imaging Solutions Division. “Mitsubishi installed the first high-definition LED display in the arena market at TD Banknorth Garden in 2006, and the first 6mm high-definition LED display in 2007 at the Verizon Center. We are very excited to introduce this latest technological advance to the arena marketplace by installing the first 6mm black package LED Displays right here in Toronto, at a world-class facility such as Air Canada Centre.”

“This installation confirms once again Mitsubishi Electric’s reputation for quality, performance and proven reliability in arena display technology. The Diamond Vision system continues to lead the technology curve and set the standards in the arena marketplace,” noted Azar.

The selection of Diamond Vision came after exhaustive research by MLSE officials, who compared the displays in use at numerous arenas throughout North America before selecting the Mitsubishi Electric product. “Of the systems we saw, the Mitsubishi Diamond Vision boards were consistently superior in uniformity and reliability,” said Dwayne Brown, technical producer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “Plus, being able to showcase the black package LED is particularly exciting given Air Canada Centre’s status as a world-class facility.”

The 6mm main displays will utilise Mitsubishi Electric’s state-of-the-art Digital Screen Controller, driven by a high-definition 1080 HD source from Air Canada Centre’s new 1080 high-definition control room. In addition to the black package 6mm main video displays, Mitsubishi Electric is using 10mm display technology for additional eight-sided upper displays and four-sided scoring displays, as well as a 22m long circular ring. Mitsubishi Electric is also supplying a new integrated scoring system consisting of all new shot clocks and ANC’s state-of-the-art VisionSOFT control system.

“After extensive research and reviewing several installations in different venues, Mitsubishi proved to be the clear winner in the large screen display industry with their technology, quality and price,” said Curt Emerson, manager of venue services and content deployment for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “We are very excited to debut our new high-definition Mitsubishi Diamond Vision video display at Air Canada Centre this fall.”

Toronto fans can expect the new display system to be competed by August 1, 2008 in time for the upcoming NHL and NBA seasons.


4 tips to avoid the greenwash tag

June 10, 2008

We recently received an email mailshot from a company claiming to be the “greenest” supplier of giant video screens for hire because it had contracted another company to plant a tree every time somebody hired one of its screens for an event. While the aim might be laudable, the true value of this initiative is somewhat debatable, considering that the company’s activities involve large trucks driving around the country all Summer long. To our minds, this is a classic example of corporate “greenwash” – the touting of unsubstantiated, nebulous or irrelevant claims, facts or activities in an attempt to appear more environmentally friendly.

From a PR perspective, greenwashing is not only unethical, it is counter-productive. There is an increasingly strong media backlash against companies who use greenwashing to try to divert public attention from the less-than-green aspects of their activities or hide the effects of these activities under a sward of green respectability. We recently advised one of our clients on how they should approach the subject of environmental marketing, and that led us to thinking about creating a set of guidelines for use by clients considering playing the “green card”. So here are our 4 Tips to Avoid Greenwash

1. Be clear about your objective
The primary purpose of “going green” should be to achieve a specific environmental benefit; it should not be approached solely as a marketing exercise. There can be some very positive marketing and PR benefits to be derived from adopting more sustainable business practices, but only where such initiatives are genuine and sincere. Planting a tree somewhere and claiming your product is now “green” is simplistic nonsense and greenwash of the most cynical kind.

2. Be honest, open and balanced
Before embarking on any kind of green campaign, take a serious look at your activities; make an honest appraisal of the environmental impacts of your business and where improvements could be made. Using green rhetoric to promote a low-energy light bulb made in a factory that needlessly pollutes the environment is greenwash: Talking about the specific actions the company has made to reduce that pollution, is not. Obviously, lying or making deliberately misleading statements is completely out of the question.

3. Don’t be vague or obscure
A lot of greenwash uses vague, nebulous terms such as “eco-friendly”, “environmentally sound” or “green” – none of which have any clear meaning and are therefore impossible to substantiate. Claims which cannot be substantiated are likely to be regarded as greenwash. Likewise, don’t use obscure scientific terms or arguments. Make sure any claims you make can be proven and that you clearly identify the specific environmental benefits of your product: Talking about “carbon-neutral” and “carbon-offset” is rather vague and woolly; Pointing to the improvements you’ve made to your product that have resulted in a 50% reduction in energy use is a strong statement of your commitment to sustainable business practices. Lastly, don’t use emotive images – trees, flowers, dolphins etc. – unless there is a compelling and justifiable reason to do so.

4. Be in it for the long term
Once you have embarked upon any form of PR campaign based on your environmental activities, you must sustain those activities or risk being accused of merely “jumping on the bandwagon”. It is therefore important that you take time to consider the long-term implications of your activities – are they realistic? manageable? worthwhile?

For further information on greenwash, have a look at these guides

The CIPR guidelines on environmental communications
The Futerra guide to Greenwash