Dayton firm on cutting edge of marketing technology
Apr 14, 2012 (Dayton Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The "SuperLab" on the fourth floor of Stratacache's Dayton headquarters is a showroom of cutting-edge marketing technologies that are changing the way customers experience products and brands, from a floor projector platform that makes it appear as if water is rippling under your feet to a translucent grocery freezer case door that displays video of milk being poured into a glass.
"We are the new in-store marketing tool," said Paula Polei, director of marketing for the Dayton-based provider of digital sign, content distribution and video acceleration technologies.
Stratacache last week announced plans to increase its local footprint with the purchase of 100,000-square-foot building in Moraine to house its expanded integrated services operation. The company plans to hire 20 to 30 people over the next three years to test and configure media players and displays at the new facility. Established in 1999, Stratacache currently employs 50 people at four area locations that also include a Huber Heights production facility and its corporate headquarters, data center and trade show staging facilities in Dayton.
Nationally, Stratacache has a total of about 200 employees at subsidiary firms and development centers in Boston, New York, Montreal, Salt Lake City and Santa Clara, Calif.
Officials for the privately held company declined to disclose its value, annual revenues or sales figures. Stratacache has more than 300 clients in the retail, finance, restaurant, media and hospitality sectors. They include McDonald's restaurants, where Stratacache has digital signs at more than 13,000 McCafe locations.
The McCafe signs, which use Stratacache's ActiVia for Media software, server and media player components, display moving images of fresh-roasted coffee beans and cups of coffee being poured.
The technology allows companies to deliver real-time, targeted messages to specific locations based on customer demographics and promotional campaigns.
"It is a much more efficient way of messaging to consumers," Polei said. Digital sign content can be produced in minutes, as opposed to the lengthy process of creating traditional printed signs, she said.
The ActiVia software and media player also drives two of Stratacache's latest technologies, PrimaSee and Gestural Interactive.
PrimaSee uses a translucent LCD panel embedded in a cooler door or cosmetics case to display video of the illuminated products on the other side of the glass. Officials said the technology currently is being used in several "strategic" U.S. markets and will be introduced soon in southwest Ohio.
Gestural Interactive technology was announced last month and allows customers to trigger particular actions on an in-store screen using hand motions, similar to popular video game systems.
"It is an entertaining as well as informative piece of software," said John Morrett, a Stratacache senior systems engineer.
ActiVia's audience measurement feature uses camera tracking technology to provide marketers with statistical information such as customer impressions and dwell time for the displayed product.
Stratacache has fueled its growth in recent years by acquiring several firms that have provided the company with technologies for improving its products, Morrett said.
OmniCast content and media distribution software allows mass delivery of large digital files such as theatrical motion pictures, training videos or software updates to multiple locations over a network from a central site. The technology saves companies time and money by distributing content on demand.
"We are getting very active in the movie industry," Morrett said.
SuperLumin video caching software accelerates Internet video content using a proxy-type server to boost network speed without increasing bandwidth. For example, the technology allows 100 students to download a YouTube video from a university's cache, rather than requiring 100 connection points to the Internet.
SuperLumin has the industry's leading high-performance Netflix cache, officials said.
Interactive media advertising company enVu uses a combination of gesture-based technology and floor projection to target audiences with immersive experiences. A current enVu campaign in about 100 U.S. shopping malls for the animated film "The Pirates" creates the effect of rippling water and sharks swimming underfoot when people walk across a rubber tile platform.
"This is the new-age marketing; everything is going digital," Polei said.
Contact this reporter at dlarsen@ DaytonDailyNews.com.
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