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Multi-platform information system donated to YWCA Crossroads Shelter

By Galen Eagle – Examiner Staff Writer

Women in crisis aren't always in a position to absorb new information when they are seeking refuge at the YWCA Crossroads Shelter, executive director Lynn Zimmer explained.

So a newly donated system that turns a regular flat-screen television into a multi-platform information source featuring a live ticker, photos and videos to update clients on a range of services will be a big boon to the Stewart St. facility.

"It's a great way for a person to get information when they need it, not when we give it to them," Zimmer said. "We have been puzzling over how we could give women in our shelter better access to information when they wanted it. When you are in crisis, a lot of the information just goes right past you."

It's called BallyHooTVTM and it's an invention a small Peterborough company hopes to turn into a big, and profitable, product.

Emmatt Digital Solutions Inc., a 14-year-old company located on The Parkway, is ready to launch the new information system to a national and international market. On Monday, the company celebrated the launch by donating a system to the YWCA.

The technology allows users to customize a television display through easy-to-use computer software, allowing customers to update, change and evolve the onscreen message at the touch of a keyboard.

"One of the unique features of BallyHooTV is its ease of use and the fact that you can edit the content from any location around the world," said Emmatt Digital Solutions co-owner Chris Calbury, who runs the company with his business partner Kim Appleton. "You can literally do it from your kitchen at 3 a.m. in your PJs having a cup of tea."

It gives the Crossroads Shelter a convenient all-in-one platform to promote its internal programs and outreach services, information clients can absorb within seconds. It can also be used to set a peaceful ambience featuring soothing pictures and music, Zimmer added.

"We are very grateful and excited," she said.

Calbury and Appleton say they want a piece of the $4 billion digital signage market south of the border and they believe their product is the best on the market.

"If you know how to use (Microsoft) Word or Power Point, then you can use this product," Appelton said. "Being a local Peterborough company we're really excited with the potential to go worldwide."

The company anticipate sales in the first year of $500,000 followed by $1.5 million the second year. Being a small company without a retail store, Emmatt Digital Solutions decided to partner with Sign-A-Rama, which currently has 35 stores across the country including a Peterborough location.

Sign-A-Rama expects to expand to close to 100 stores nationally in the next five years and BallyHooTV is an exciting new product that should sell well both nationally and internationally, said Morgan Smith, president and CEO of the Peterborough store.

"It's a great opportunity for us," he said.

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