If you are looking for a powerful signage player in a small package, the Intel® Next Unit of Computing (Intel® NUC) is a good place to start. With big graphics performance in a footprint as small as 4 x 4 x 2 inches, these energy-efficient compact PCs are a great solution for digital signage. Plus, they support the Intel® Retail Client Manager (Intel® RCM), enabling content management and responsive audience analytics.


Ultra Impact from an Ultra Compact Design

Choose an Intel NUC with a 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5-4250U processor and you get the benefit of  Intel® HD Graphics 5000. This integrated graphics engine delivers visually stunning video and images without a costly, power-hungry discrete graphics card. HD playback is performed through Intel® Clear Video HD Technology, giving you sharper, smoother, richer images. This technology integrates a wide range of image-processing capabilities, including advanced video technologies that remove jitter and create crisper visuals. Total color control along with adaptive contrast and skin-tone enhancements create vivid, rich colors. Intelligent color space mapping helps ensure colors are true to life.


The processor can support up to three independent displays with resolutions up to 4K2K@24Hz via HDMI 1.4a and 4K2K@60Hz via DisplayPort 1.2. The processor even has wireless display capabilities, enabling cordless connections to appropriately equipped displays. Intel NUC systems also feature Wi-Fi connectivity for enabling media players to be placed anywhere in the store.


Intel® Retail Client Manager 2.0

Intel RCM is a Microsoft Windows*-based intuitive solution for composing, scheduling, and managing marketing campaigns and devices across a digital signage network (Figure 1). Loaded on each player and a backend server typically hosted by a systems integrator, Intel RCM enables you to:


  • Create campaigns in minutes using templates and distribute these campaigns across a network of signs
  • Use a wide range of content types, including audio and video
  • Control each digital sign on the network independently
  • Enable programmed responses to touchscreen or optical sensor data to deliver customized marketing
  • Provide proof-of-play reporting, including playback frequency and duration

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Figure 1. Intel® Retail Client Manager provides integrated content reporting capabilities that enable retailers to improve their messaging and results.

Signs equipped with an optical sensor can use anonymous viewer analytics to detect the approximate age, gender, and dwell time of a viewer. This information can be used to gauge advertising effectiveness, calculate ROI, and test different advertising approaches to improve results.


Touchscreen cues or optical sensor data on viewer age and gender can also be used to interrupt normal messaging and trigger specific advertisements. Such dynamic, targeted advertising can significantly improve user engagement and enable higher revenue streams.


Intel® NUC Solutions from the Alliance

Three members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance offer signage-ready Intel NUC systems based on the 4th generation Intel Core i5-4250U processor.


Seneca, an Associate member of the Alliance, offers the 4K-capable HDN Media Player (Figure 2). This Intel NUC player has a built-in power supply for easy mounting and cabling. Ideal for menu boards, interactive kiosks, and intelligent vending machines, the player can power dual independent displays (Mini-HDMI and Mini-DisplayPort). The HDN includes an infrared sensor for use with Intel RCM (which is also available from Seneca). Storage is mSATA up to 256GB. Safety certifications for CCC allow sales in China. The HDN also holds CE, TUV, and NOM certifications.


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Figure 2. Seneca 4K-capable HDN Media Player.

Cadia Networks, a General member of the Alliance, offers the RoughNUC-Max, a highly configurable, rugged conduction-cooled and vent-free platform (Figure 3). As its name implies, the expansion bay areas of this platform allows for maximum peripheral or customer I/P expansion well beyond just a SATA device, such as the addition of cellular or GPS capabilities for use in mobile digital signage applications. RoughNUC-Max standard and application-specific configurations are available, including configurations that can drive three independent displays (HDMI, 2x DisplayPort).


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Figure 3. Cadia Networks’ RoughNUC-Max.


Keystone Enterprise Services, a General member of the Alliance, offers the HSS-S4250-RCM, an Intel NUC media player that comes preconfigured with Intel RCM (Figure 4). Designed for powering digital signs, media menu boards, interactive kiosks or other touchscreen applications, the unit can drive two monitors (Mini DisplayPort and Mini HDMI) and offers mSATA or 2.5” hard drive options for storage. Services include one-year hosting services for the Intel RCM and one year live technical support. Great optional accessory packages and services are available for this bundle including Sellpoint Live (a video sales assistant service for digital signage), Proactive Display Monitoring services, and Spare in the Air equipment support packages. For customers looking for a complete turnkey digital signage solution, Keystone offers all-in-one bundles with display, mount, and other accessories.



Figure 4. Front and back views of the Keystone HSS-S4250-RCM,

Solo Digital Sign or Network, Power It with the Intel® NUC Media Player

For maximum impact in a compact form factor, Intel NUC-based systems with 4th generation Intel Core processors are a big solution that’s easy to tuck just about anywhere. Equally impressive, these small boxes can be part of a powerful network of digital signs with comprehensive remote content management using Intel RCM.



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Seneca is an Associate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance. Cadia Networks and Keystone Enterprise Services are General members of the Alliance.


Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance

Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine