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The writer is editor of Digital Signage Today.
 
Last week, a small group of friends and business associates gathered at the Wine Cellar American at the Rio in Las Vegas. They shared food and wine and toasted St. Clair Interactive, the software company that just turned 25 years old.

Doug Peter, president and founder of St. Clair, said he was managing a portfolio of marketing services and advertising companies in 1981 when he saw his first touchscreen.

"The light bulb lit up," he said. "I saw that this was a way to deal with people one at a time instead of throwing mass media at them."

Over the course of its 25-year history, St. Clair has developed and deployed more than 520 unique software products and installations. Today, its portfolio centers around a set of 35 "Application Software Templates" — remote management and content tools that allow the staff to develop custom solutions rapidly.

"They are a class act and have always produced kiosk applications that are the benchmark against which all others are measured," said Francie Mendelsohn, president of Summit Research Associates. "I think that´s the highest praise I can give for a company whose quarter century of existence speaks to its capabilities and talent."

In Sept. 2006, Peter was inducted into the Self-Service & Kiosk Association's Hall of Fame. His company has consistently been recognized by Self Service Expo and Self-Service World awards.

Business technology has changed a great deal since Peter started his company in 1982. He said better, faster and cheaper technologies have made an impact, and clients have become increasingly aware of the challenges of doing self-service right. But, he said there is still the notion that if a device looks simple it must be simple to make.

Peter said the coming years will see more of an emphasis on multichannel delivery — "multiple device and multiple locations on one content and data platform" — and more integration of self-service and legacy client systems.

And for St. Clair? "More international business … and 25 more years," he said.

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