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A Digital Signage Business Model that Sets You Apart

May 04, 2017

A Digital Signage Business Model that Sets You Apart

The complex digital signage ecosystem is made up of display vendors, software companies, media player manufacturers, and ad agencies. Many Audio-visual and IT integrator VARs are hoping to take charge of the entire deployment from concept to ongoing maintenance in order to leverage AV for greater profit in the digital signage space.

The challenge for these VARs is to avoid trying to be all things to all people by focusing on the deals and areas where they have a competitive advantage. By using their key strengths as a foundation, these integrators can develop a clear vision for areas of specialization in the digital signage space. This enables them to develop a well-articulated business model that defines their competitive advantages via specific areas where their time/effort/money is most likely to yield a positive return on investment.

Expanding Digital Signage Opportunities

Experience and skillsets in IT network design, cloud platform implementation, and mobility can provide opportunities in a variety of vertical including:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitality
  • Retail environments
  • Houses of worship
  • Business service firms
  • Multi-location retail companies

Many of these business verticals provide opportunities where organizations need decentralized delivery of targeted information to digital signage that interfaces with mobile apps for:

  • Point-to-point, text-to-device directions with wayfinding kiosks
  • Field communications and RFID tags integrated into room booking systems for reservations and trade show opportunities
  • Point-of-Sale (POS) education, sales opportunities and specials targeted to buyers in retail environments
  • Alert notification systems that will provide directional guidance in the event of an emergency

These and other opportunities in digital signage are spread across the spectrum ranging from SMBs to enterprises. Consequently, system integrators must have a digital signage business model that is built on the client need for digital engagement in various forms. That requires a model that is built on ready access and understanding of design for a wide variety of components and packages within the digital signage spectrum.

SMB to Enterprise-level Digital Signage

Today and increasingly in the future, digital signage will increasingly be about "digital engagement,” In order to develop a differentiating digital signage business model, VARs must be capable of demonstrating increased agility and an expanded range of services to meet the changing demands of the market place.

The trend of integrating digital signage (DS) and near-field communications (NFC) with mobile devices (Bluetooth, RFID or cell phone) to enhance the on-premises shopping experience for customers is also on the rise. Mobile interactivity with digital signage, especially via the mobile phone, opens up other sales channels for the advertisers to incorporate into their existing multi-channel ad campaigns.

For VARs, the takeaway is that this DS need is similar to the cloud computing model in which the interaction takes place on the edge client device or mobile device while the content and the services are provided from the cloud. Consequently, a DS system connected to a local area network (LAN), via a cable or wirelessly, becomes an extension of corporate IT network infrastructure, even though it is a public-facing system.

The Digital Signage Connection

Designing and implementing a DS system can require a wide variety of connectivity solutions. Cat5e/6 network cabling, coaxial, fiber optics, transceivers, converters, splitters, adapters and a number of other audio/visual connectivity products can all be part of a significant DS system installation. Manufacturers like SIIG , StarTech and Axiom provide a veritable one-stop shop for digital signage system connectivity and signal transport for integrators designing a DS system for a corporate or SMB client.

In addition, DS will continue to evolve to further streamline the sell and buy processes with tighter integration to point-of-sales (POS) systems and with electronic payment via mobile devices. This can also be seen in DS business models where the DS system is equipped with motion detection, touch sensor, and near-field communication (NFC) capabilities.

These technologies detect the shopper and prompt them to use a mobile phone to accept location-specific content about the store’s special promotions. Manufacturers like Intel with their Audience Impression Metric (AIM) technology use a camera-based system to measure audience size, demographics and dwell time (the amount of time a customer spends with the digital sign).

Display Manufacturers like Samsung are creating digital signage components like their SMART Signage Platform (SSP) technology that includes their System-on-Chip (SoC) technology. The technology includes Quad Core processors that enable running touchscreen apps directly to 32-inch to 75-inch displays. Users can connect the touch overlay directly to the panel via USB, eliminating the need for an external PC. In addition to the Quad Core Processors lowering total cost of ownership (TCO), these solutions can also provide embedded video players that can reduce TCO as much as 30 percent.

Content management is a crucial aspect of any digital signage business model whether you’re a VAR serving enterprise or SMB clients. Samsung and other leading manufacturers have developed solutions like their MagicInfo content creation system that equips end-users with a suite of creative tools built to facilitate content creation and display management.

Today and increasingly in the future, digital signage will increasingly be about "digital engagement,” In order to develop a differentiating digital signage business model, VARs must be capable of demonstrating increased agility and an expanded range of services to meet the changing demands of the market place.