Scala (company)

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For other uses of the term "Scala", see Scala.
Industry Computer software
Founded 1987
Headquarters Malvern, Pennsylvania, US
Key people
Tom Nix (CEO)
Products Infochannel, Scala Enterprise
Footnotes / references

Scala, Inc is a producer of multimedia software. Founded in 1987, Scala is headquartered near Philadelphia, Pa., and has subsidiaries in The Netherlands, France, Norway, Germany, Japan and India, as well as more than 500 partners in more than 90 countries. Driving more than 500,000 screens worldwide, The Company's multimedia software platform powers the digital signage networks of Rabobank, IKEA, Bloomberg Television, Burger King, T-Mobile, Virgin Megastores, Disneyland Resort Paris, McDonald's, Warner Bros., Shell, Esso, Ericsson, The Life Channel, and IBC-13.[2]

In February 1999, Scala was nominated by Animation Magazine to be amongst the 13 best companies of 2D software manufacturers.[3]


In 1987 a young Norwegian entrepreneur, Jon Bøhmer founded the company "Digital Visjon" in Brumunddal, Norway to create multimedia software on the Commodore Amiga computer platform. In 1988 they released their first product which was named InfoChannel 0.97L, which had hotels and cable-TV companies as their first customers. They quickly started exporting to a newly formed subsidiaries in Denmark, Holland, UK and Sweden.

In 1990, they redesigned the program with a new graphical user interface. They renamed the company and the software "Scala" and released a number of multimedia applications. The company attracted investors, mainly from Norway and incorporated in the US in 1994 and is now based in the United States with their European headquarters located in the Netherlands.

The name "Scala" was given by Bøhmer and designer Bjørn Rybakken and represents the scales in colors, tones and the opera in Milano. The name inspired a live actor animation made by Bøhmer and Rybakken using an Amiga, a video camera and a frame-by-frame video digitizer. The animation, named "Lo scalatore" (Italian for 'The Climber'), featured a magic trick of Indian fakirs of a man climbing a ladder and disappearing in the air.[4] This animation was then included into one of the Demo Disks of Scala Multimedia in order to show the capabilities of that presentation software in loading and playing animations whilst also manipulating it with other features of the software.

In 1994 Scala released Multimedia MM400 and InfoChannel 500. InfoChannel was already in 1989 one of the first applications that could control the distribution of multimedia in a computer network (running at 1200 baud initially). This completely changed the way people used this type of software by allowing control of large TV channel networks with content and advertising from a central location.

In 1996, due to the bankruptcy of Commodore, Inc, Scala left the Amiga platform and started delivering the same applications under MS-DOS. Scala Multimedia MM100, Scala Multimedia Publisher and Scala InfoChannel 100 were released for the x86 platform. Scala MM100 won Byte Magazine's "Best of Comdex" in 1996.

The flexibility of the Scala software enabled a wide range of uses, from information channels in cable TV, hotels and public spaces, a video titling application and a complete multimedia authoring suite, and is used for interactive video TV, presentations, digital signage, and streaming TV into large LAN and WAN, such as information monitor installations and video walls in airports or stations. Scala software provides a complete suite for corporate television and is currently being used by Ericsson in the UK.

Scala was a popular application for video titling in TV stations worldwide in the 1990s. Amongst its notable users were large broadcasting companies such as CNN, BBC, RAI TV, IBC and many others. Today Scala is the world's largest provider of software for digital sign networks worldwide.[citation needed]

Corporate governance[edit]

As of December 2013, the CEO of Scala is Tom Nix, who was formerly a regional vice president.[1] Nix succeeds Gerard Bucas, who retired after nine years.[1]

Scala Multimedia[edit]

The first versions for the Amiga computer were a simple but powerful video titler and slide show authoring system. Scala was bundled with a large amount of typefaces, background images, and a selection of transition effects to be applied to them. The artwork was designed by Bjørn Rybakken. Scala was also capable of working with Genlock equipment to superimpose titles over footage played through the devices video input.

Succeeding versions of the program on the same platform added features such as animation playback, more effects ("Wipes") and the ability to interact with multimedia devices through a programming language called "Lingua" (Latin for "language").

With its move to the Microsoft Windows platform, Scala then evolved into a complete set of programs capable of allowing the user create very complex animations, video-presentations, and entire usable all-purpose programs, that could be also stand-alone. Scala could now also support more multimedia languages such as Python and Visual Basic.

Modern versions of Scala can interface TV data streaming with databases of information. A typical application in an airport departure lounge would be to have monitors showing recorded streaming video interspersed with up-to-date flight information.

A strong point of Scala Multimedia has been the interaction of the program with presentation hardware (video projectors, digital video recorders and touch-screens). There were many software drivers modules to pilot these hardware peripherals, and cables all integrated with the main Scala suite. Scala was one of the first software that could remotely turn on and off entire consoles of monitors (such as in airports), and could pilot separately the output for each one of these monitors.


In late 2008, Scala stopped calling their product line InfoChannel and went through a period of referring only to their "solutions".[5][better source needed] At the start of 2009, the product line was being called 'Scala5' and being referred to as such in all their press releases.[6]

Scala5 is marketed as a Digital signage software suite and is used by companies in retail, airports, healthcare, education, manufacturing and more, to create, manage and distribute electronic messages for advertising or information, which can also be interactive, using various forms of visual display media.

Scala5 has three main components: Scala Designer, an authoring program which is used to create dynamic content, Scala Content Manager, which is used to manage and distribute content, and Scala Player, which plays back the distributed content.

Scala Enterprise[edit]

Scala's latest suite of Digital signage software is referred to as Scala Enterprise. The solution, a software suite consisting of Scala Designer, Scala Player, and Scala Content Manager officially launched in mid- 2013.[7] At launch, release version 10.0 featured HTML5 and Android player support, the usage of interactive features on mobile devices to engage with retail and corporate communications audiences, and social media integrations.[8]

As of April 2015, the latest version of Scala Enterprise is version 10.5.4.

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Staff writer (14 September 2011), "Scala of Exton names new CEO", Philadelphia Business Journal (American City Business Journals), archived from the original on 15 September 2011, retrieved 15 September 2011 
  2. ^ "Company Showcase - Scala". Digital Signage Today. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  3. ^ "Scala Named to Animation Magazine's 13 Best 2D Software Companies". Business Wire/FindArticles. 1999-02-15. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  4. ^ "Amiga Animations - LoScalatore". []. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  5. ^ "Image: Scala press releases with slight reflection of name change". 
  6. ^ "Scala Announces an on Time Release of the Much Anticipated Release 4 of Scala5". Scala Inc. 2008-12-31. 
  7. ^ "The new Scala Enterprise communication solution". Display Insight. 2013-07-03. 
  8. ^ "Scala Redesigns GUI and HTML5 Content Playback". Digital Signage News EMEA. 2013-02-26. 

External links[edit]