The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon

Spo­ti­fy for visu­al con­tent - Meet FRAMEN in Frank­furt am Main


Ear­ly May 2019 I had the plea­sure to vis­it the founders of FRAMEN in their brand new Frank­furt WeWork office.

The team of four start­ed two years ago to get dig­i­tal pic­ture frames out of their niche exis­tence and to make the flood of pic­tures from mobile phone pho­tog­ra­phy and social media more usable in the pri­vate and busi­ness sec­tor.

They start­ed with a dig­i­tal pic­ture frame but soon focussed hard on devel­op­ing the FRAMEN Pho­to App to con­trol mon­i­tors and images.

Frank­furt Men at Work

FRAMEN's Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Dim­itri Gärt­ner stud­ied eco­nom­ics and worked for sev­er­al years at Deutsche Bank in Frank­furt in the areas of dig­i­ti­za­tion and inno­va­tion.

With the birth of his daugh­ter a few years ago, the num­ber of pri­vate pho­tos explod­ed and the ques­tion of a bet­ter sys­tem for view­ing and shar­ing pic­tures occurred. This was the kick-off for FRAMEN.

His broth­er Alexan­der Gärt­ner brought in his expe­ri­ence as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er, video­g­ra­ph­er and graph­ic design­er. Sveatoslav Podobin­so­hi, for­mer­ly a human geneti­cist, con­tributes the IT com­pe­tence, and Mag­dale­na Pusch is respon­si­ble for busi­ness devel­op­ment and strate­gic part­ner­ships.

Found­ing Fathers

On April 18, 2019, the com­pa­ny cel­e­brat­ed its one-year birth­day as a lim­it­ed lia­bil­i­ty com­pa­ny, although prepa­ra­tions had already begun ear­li­er.

The com­pa­ny name FRAMEN is derived from FRAnk­furt MEN, which of course also includes WO-MEN.

The first FRAMEN hard­ware prod­ucts

It all start­ed with a white dig­i­tal pic­ture frame based on a Rasp­berry Pi, which was quite clum­sy from today's point of view. That was the Min­i­mum Viable Prod­uct, explains Dim­itri Gärt­ner, and it met with a direct inter­est in the busi­ness sec­tor.

But more was to come soon.

The FRAMEN Play­er, a 21.5 inch­es dig­i­tal pic­ture frame in white and black, man­u­fac­tured in Chi­na, was cre­at­ed togeth­er with the Züh­lke Engi­neer­ing office in the neigh­bor­ing city of Eschborn.

A few months lat­er, the FRAMEN TV Stick com­plet­ed the cur­rent hard­ware range.

Stream­ing instead of local data stor­age

How­ev­er, FRAMEN does not want to posi­tion itself as a pure hard­ware sup­pli­er. Instead, the com­pa­ny is about a soft­ware ser­vice that enables the over­all enjoy­ment of pic­tures.

Every day, bil­lions of new pic­tures are tak­en with mobile phones and "con­ven­tion­al" cam­eras. Unlike in the past, they don't go into shoe­box­es, but slum­ber on com­put­er hard disks or mobile phone mem­o­ry chips.

Most dig­i­tal pho­to frames have an SD card or USB stick on which the pic­tures are stored local­ly.

This makes image con­trol and man­age­ment dif­fi­cult, espe­cial­ly when it comes to man­ag­ing more than one screen.

An exam­ple may be sev­er­al screens spread across a busi­ness loca­tion or just one frame that you have giv­en your par­ents for Christ­mas that needs to have some new pho­tos.

As the first par­a­digm, the local data stor­age of the images was there­fore thrown over­board and replaced by a stream­ing solu­tion. All images are stored on Ama­zon cloud servers and instant­ly loaded onto the local mini-com­put­er in the FRAMEN Play­er when a playlist is select­ed.

Dim­itri is con­vinced that stream­ing tech­nol­o­gy, which has become the default tech­nol­o­gy in music and films, will also find its way into pic­tures.

Spo­ti­fy for Images

Stream­ing allows not only per­fect syn­chro­niza­tion of all con­nect­ed pho­to frames but also easy access to curat­ed pho­to or art col­lec­tions, adver­tis­ing cam­paigns or Friends & Fam­i­ly albums.

Just as you can call up playlists in Spo­ti­fy, which have com­piled by music fans world­wide, the notion can also be trans­ferred to image col­lec­tions.

What is miss­ing so far is a com­pre­hen­sive copy­right con­cept as in the music and film indus­try, in which the artists can par­tic­i­pate finan­cial­ly.

But the num­ber of images that can be used free of charge is already increas­ing, as ser­vices such as Unsplash, Flickr and Pix­abay prove.

Self-learn­ing algo­rithms, which under­stand your visu­al taste bet­ter and bet­ter, can ulti­mate­ly offer a com­plete­ly new pho­to or art expe­ri­ence.

The FRAMEN team had these devel­op­ments in mind right from the start and there­fore focused pri­mar­i­ly on soft­ware devel­op­ment, which allows stream­ing to dif­fer­ent hard­ware plat­forms. And they did it as sim­ple as it is tech­ni­cal­ly fea­si­ble.

Already today curat­ed image col­lec­tions are part of the FRAMEN Pho­to Soft­ware. Although their num­bers are still small and can be seen as a proof-of-con­­cept, the soft­ware allows a qua­si-unlim­it­ed scal­ing.

Make the screen shine

The company's mot­to is "Stream­ing pho­tog­ra­phy to any pri­vate and busi­ness screen." This includes a large mon­i­tor that most of us have in one or more rooms at home.

Smart TVs deliv­ered in recent years can be used as pic­ture frames with the FRAMEN Pho­to App with­out any addi­tion­al hard­ware.

Although some TV man­u­fac­tur­ers also offer their con­cepts, such as the screen saver from Apple TV or Samsung's "The Frame," they are by no means as flex­i­ble and plat­­form-inde­pen­­dent as the FRAMEN solu­tion.

The FRAMEN TV-Stick trans­forms any mod­ern tele­vi­sion into a dig­i­tal pic­ture frame. It can be oper­at­ed loca­tion inde­pen­dent with a smart­phone and requires no on-site main­te­nance apart from the on/off switch — a cost-effec­­tive and flex­i­ble solu­tion for the adver­tis­ing indus­try.

Dis­cus­sions with major TV man­u­fac­tur­ers have also met a lot of inter­est, says Dim­itri. A well-known brand is like­ly to enter into an agree­ment with FRAMEN short­ly.

Mak­ing Dig­i­tal Sig­nage cheap­er and eas­i­er

WeWork, whose Frank­furt branch is home to FRAMEN, is so con­vinced by the con­cept of the young founders that they not only want to use the FRAMEN sys­tem in their co-work­ing lob­bies but have also decid­ed to become an investor.

Accord­ing to Dim­itri, the mar­ket for dig­i­tal sig­nage esti­mat­ed at over $20 bil­lion is also very attrac­tive for FRAMEN.

The key is to dif­fer­en­ti­ate clear­ly from exist­ing providers through inno­v­a­tive and flex­i­ble solu­tions and make the switch as easy as pos­si­ble.

Think­ing Big

After three hours with the FRAMEN founders, I leave the WeWork build­ing in Frankfurt's Taunu­san­lage with the feel­ing that some­thing extra­or­di­nary is being cre­at­ed here.

No com­pa­ny has yet man­aged to get the sleepy mar­ket for dig­i­tal pic­ture frames going with a con­vinc­ing con­cept.

Spo­ti­fy orig­i­nates from Swe­den, Net­flix from the USA and maybe the future tech­nol­o­gy for visu­al con­tent will come from the FRAnk­furt MEN.

(Pho­tos: Copy­right Fra­men GmbH)