What’s Driving MicroTiles?

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Jason Cremins has a (great) reputation for punching above his weight (PR and marketing-wise especially) and we don’t have any issues with him for shouting from the rooftops that signagelive was, we quote “selected to power the new Christie MicroTiles display at the recent launch event at Touch Nightclub in New York” (this was taken from his ORIGINAL press release of last week).

That press release has subsequently been changed and now reads “signagelive was among a few selected partners chosen” but some early damage was already done by the time the usual rags picked it up and simply regurgitated it.

The original press release missed two important points; the first that MicroTiles are absolutely software agnostic and secondly, several software partners were involved in the launch.

MT_logoLike any screen, you can plug almost anything into a MicroTiles display as along as it goes through one of the Christie Digital External Control Units (ECU) – our TechOpsDir Andrew Neale explained to me that “the point of interface is the DVI connection”.

Buried on page 13 of the MicroTiles (PDF) Brochure (November 11th 2009) it states “Simple, small and affordable, the ECU is compatible with all standard graphic formats, playback devices and mainstream creative and digital signage software.”

Jason’s press release rather inadvertently gave the impression also that his was the only software solution powering the MicroTiles on the evening of the launch. Not so, In fact it is worth looking at how signagelive got involved in the first place…

18 months or so ago we made suggestions to Christie Digital with regard a launch strategy based on our knowledge of the product and understanding of the marketplace – MicroTiles remember is a product that will sell well into Control Rooms, the Architecture space, Rental / Staging as well as in Digital Out of Home.

We suggested a number of digital signage software vendors that we thought most suitable for ‘demonstrating’ the product early on – including the Whisper Suites we helped managed (behind closed-doors product introductions to a select few) and then at the various actual product launches.

  • At the high end was Christie’s very own Vista Spyder product (a professional-grade video processor allowing users to mix an incredible number of sources in multiple windows and used in really, really big video wall installations). The software only equivalent of this if you like is C-nario, a product well known for its powerful video wall manipulation ability.

    All in all we thought this was a great pairing to show off some of the unique features of MicroTiles; a predominantly hardware / video processor driven solution if you like and a similar high end software driven approach!

  • We also needed some other solutions of course to show how easy it was to link anything up with MicroTiles – my initial urging of them to get some video iPods connected up didn’t go down too well with the two content developers involved (Arsenal Media who were the lead partner on all of the branding and content development efforts and Amigo Digital) but we did hook up some Mac Mini’s and in fact Apple Mac Mini’s were running at least one of the shapes in NYC last week.
  • In our own labs we played with both signagelive and some free software hooked up to the displays. iBlink who are one of the EMEA launch partners use Dynamax and during one of the Whisper Suites at InfoComm in Florida Omnivex and Scala platforms were hooked up to the system.
  • We will have some MicroTiles on our Bloggers Lounge next February in Amsterdam and Andrew tells me that we will be running WireSpring through them.

It will take some time for all of the major digital signage software players to have a MicroTiles installation on their hands but as and when systems are deployed, we will get to see more solutions proven to work successfully with this innovative new platform.

We have already fielded requests from Scala in Europe and CoolSign to be introduced to the R&D folks at Christie in Toronto and the Canucks are gonna have their hands full going forward answering their mail bag especially after the next December 9th launch event in NYC that opens up MicroTiles to even more networks, even more retailers and even more system integrators.

5 Responses to “What’s Driving MicroTiles?”

  1. Alex Hughes - Amigo Digital Says:

    Mr Cotterill did float the idea of running MicroTiles from a video iPod… unfortunately the output resolution from a video iPod is too low to show any form of video or animation on the MicroTiles, so that wouldn’t work.

    BUT then again what do you expect from someone who has a dated iPod Shuffle and communicates with something called an Android 😉

  2. luis Says:


  3. Raffi Says:


    We at CoolSign can’t wait to utilize the Microtiles to show what we did at Infocomm some months back: Seamless multi-screen synchronization.


  4. NeilC Says:

    The whole “powered by” tagline seems to be a little out of hand these days. To the point where “powered by” actually means “plugged in to”.

  5. Jeff Collard Says:

    I am sure that Omnivex was not the only software provider who visited Christie Digital’s manufacturing plant in Kitchener, Ontario to discuss this technology during its development stages.

    Technical exchanges between companies is pretty common and protected until NDA agreements. These are steps a good manufacturer takes to ensure that their product is compatible with other technologies and to get perspective from developers of related products serving their industry. I was at our meeting with Chrisite Digital and appreciate their diligence to develop a comprehensive solution and ensure a successful launch.

    There is lots of interesting activity going on right now that will hit the market in 2010 (hopefully), but the PR opportunity should celebrate the company who developed the product. Congratulations to the engineers at Christie Digital, they did a great job and should get the recognition they are due.

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