Sign Of The Times

Posted on Oct 1, 2009 :: Small Business Spotlight
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Scott Koffarnus, Cineviz, reviews a project with digital artist Eric Carter.

Eyes follow a passerby as we walks past a store window. He stops to check it out and discovers that he can interact with the window display merely by touching it. That’s the magic of projection film – just one of a growing number of slick, interactive devices and software Scott Koffarnus is bringing to market through Cineviz, a company he started last year. There’s also The Cube – a device that projects images into a floor surface, allowing potential customers to play games or interact with the images. And there are audience analytics packages that let a retailer measure audience response and target advertising messages to the demographics of the audience viewing the message.

Koffarnus has been excited about the potential for graphic animation and interactive media ever since he helped launch Pulse Communications in Green Bay in the late 1980s. A 1986 UW-Green Bay graduate in graphic design, Koffarnus was introduced to 3D animation techniques shortly thereafter and decided immediately, “I’ve got to do this,” he says now.

As technology continued to expand the potential of computer-aided graphic design, Koffarnus became even more intrigued and eventually left Pulse to start a new design firm called freshpaint digital in February 2003. The new company, which specializes in 3D animation, video production and programming, gradually developed a stable of local, national and international clients for its services.

Major clients include Benjamin Moore Paints, Cellcom, Tyco and Ansul, as well as Dairy Interactive, a Green Bay-based national dairy farm training firm. Freshpaint’s interactive animation software for Dairy Interactive is helping that firm do bilingual training for large dairy farms across the country.

Koffarnus also began to see the potential represented by interactive digital signage for the retail and commercial markets, so he launched Cineviz in February 2008 as a subsidiary of freshpaint digital.

Cineviz, which Koffarnus calls “a consulting and systems integration company,” specializes in putting together packages of hardware and software for onsite marketing, often using audience analytics and other interactive tools to help companies target their advertising messages and even gauge the effectiveness of those messages.

Much of the hardware and software Cineviz sells comes from vendor partners, says Koffarnus, but his company earns its keep by packaging those components, and also by creating customized content and programming.

“We’re not selling someone an LCD screen and some software,” says Koffarnus. “Anyone can do that. We’re selling solutions, and we have a lot of unique ways of delivering those solutions, depending on what the client is trying to achieve.”

Using The Cube, for example, Cineviz and freshpaint digital have developed custom games and images for Benjamin Moore Paints to use in its retail showrooms.

Koffarnus says Cineviz and freshpaint digital will have to continue to evolve as the technology does and as companies discover more ways to use that technology. Audience metrics will also play a larger role as companies become more sophisticated at digital marketing, he adds.

“It’s been quite a ride,” says Koffarnus. “The technology will always change and so will people’s skills and creativity in using the technology. But what we’re also learning is how the technology can be used to communicate branding messages better in different settings. In a retail setting, for example, you might get, at a maximum, six to 10 seconds of customer attention for digital signage. In an airport, you’re going to have longer ‘dwell time,’ so you have to use the technology and craft your message accordingly.”