Getting a Deeper Look At Art

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Visitors to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., are getting a deeper look at artists’ work, thanks to software from Toronto-based Omnivex Corporation.

Omnivex, founded in 1991, is an international leader in software development for digital signage networks and electronic displays.

The Smithsonian has implemented Omnivex software as part of its art exhibits. Its system overcomes the traditional challenge museums face of representing an artist’s work with the few pieces in its possession. The result with Omnivex is a richer, more educational experience for the art enthusiast.

The National Portrait Gallery focuses on the individuals who have shaped U.S. history and influenced the culture, such as poets, presidents, visionaries, actors and activists. Visitors can view art exhibits and then access touch screen LCD panels powered by Omnivex to view additional works of art by a given artist. For example, the Herb Block exhibit displays 60 original cartoons, but many more of the Washington Post cartoonist’s pieces are viewable on the digital signage adjacent to the exhibit.

The Omnivex software makes it easy to view works of art and information to gain a much deeper understanding of an exhibit. The system also gives visitors access to videos and other rich media relevant to the exhibit. For instance, at the Lucile Ball exhibit, visitors can view TV shows, movies and other media featuring the actress, all through kiosks powered by Omnivex software.

“The flexibility of the Omnivex software made this an easy fit,” says Jim Oremland, account executive at solution integrator Nelson White Systems. “The museum wanted a touch screen system that could interface with many different types of media and file formats. Omnivex content management software allowed the museum to easily create visually appealing content using their existing media assets.” (Nelson White Systems is an Omnivex solutions partner and audio-visual equipment reseller/integrator serving the commercial, government, and education markets, with expertise in digital signage deployments. )

As a result of Omnivex’s strength as a data platform, content can automatically respond to current conditions, such as an input from a touch screen, to provide a more relevant experience for the viewer. Additionally, the software has fulfilled the museum’s requirement to manage the entire network remotely from its design studio.

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