Clifford Fuel Company is a Citgo and Sunoco fuel supplier and also provides diesel fuel, heating oil and kerosene throughout Central and Northern New York State. Clifford Fuel also owns and operates 22 of their own retail locations, Cliffs Local Market, across central and northern New York .
Clifford Fuel was seeking assistance with designing a more modern and up to date solution for Digital Signage throughout their retail and convenience market stores. The previous setup consisted of a PC in the back office continuously running a PowerPoint Presentation onto two large screen TV displays out in the store. The PC had a monitor connected via VGA, which was cloned to StoreTV1 using Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver. StoreTV2 was configured as an extended desktop display of the PC. This resulted in each TV having to be connected with HDMI over CAT5e extenders, with each extender having a sender side (PC) and receiver side (TV), using a total of four CAT5e to extend the HDMI connection out to the TVs. Given the distance between the PC and the TV displays, as well as limited HDMI ports, several USB to HDMI converters and HDMI extenders were being used, which essentially allowed for CAT5e to be used for HDMI transmissions. The use of these converters added considerable cabling and complexity to the solution. There were a total of four PowerPoint Presentations stored on the PC, two different presentations for the AM Menus & two different presentations for the PM Menus. Office One PowerShow 9.2 was the software used to run multiple PowerPoints on multiple displays. A custom script was written to control the PowerPoints and display settings. This solution was not only cumbersome to manage, but had a number of limitations as it would not allow for more than two TV displays to be connected to a PC and the displayed content was also limited by the PowerPoint software functionality.
M.A. Polce Consulting, Inc. recommended taking a different approach by using a centrally managed solution by Samsung. This was a good option for Clifford Fuel because there were several “media player” options available for Samsung displays, which would simplify the solution. The “Premium-S” media player, coupled with “Magic Info” software provided the features that Clifford Fuel was looking for. The “Premium-S” media player relies on a direct Ethernet connection to the network. Neither the media player nor the TV connect directly to a PC, reducing complexity and cabling dramatically. The PC runs the Magic Info software and is used to connect to and configure the TV displays via the network.
Clifford Fuel now has a centrally managed simple solution that can easily scale to accommodate future growth. The solution is improving the customer experience and providing key information such as menus, prices, nutrition information and video content. Since 2015, M.A. Polce Consulting has upgraded six of these stores with a plan to upgrade the remaining stores over the next two years.