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A Glossary of Common Pro AV and Digital Signage Terms VARs Need to Know

February 17, 2017

The professional AV industry continues to grow at a steady pace, with digital signage representing a significant part of its ongoing success. For value-added resellers (VARs) that currently sell pro AV, or are considering adding it to their product offering, this is an exciting time of growth and innovation.

However, in such a fast-moving industry, it’s vital for all players to stay up to date on the latest news, product offerings, and technology advancements. For those VARs that are new to pro AV, or looking to expand their involvement in the market, it is important to familiarize yourself with a wide range of key industry terms. Here we count down some of the key pro AV and digital signage terms that you need to know now:

Bring your own device (BYOD)

BYOD refers to the use of employees’ personal smartphones and tablets for work duties. Popular in pro AV installations such as meeting rooms and video conferencing systems, BYOD is meant to enable seamless information-sharing among groups of co-workers. While BYOD is growing in some areas, certain businesses have banned BYOD altogether due to cybersecurity concerns. If your customers are interested in adopting BYOD capabilities, make sure that security is one of your top priorities.

Content

The content of a pro AV or digital signage application is any video, text, audio, or other material that is displayed or distributed through the technology. In pro AV, content might take the form of presentation material in a meeting room or audio and video for a video conference. Typical digital signage content includes advertisements, branding material, wayfinding information, and news.

Content distribution

Content distribution is simply the method of distributing content to your target audience (see below). In today’s pro AV and digital signage industry, content is distributed through a variety of means, such as through speakers, video walls, projection displays, and smartphones and other handheld devices. In our increasingly digital world, digital technologies of all types and sizes—from LED displays to tablet computers—are becoming a vital part of any pro AV and digital signage content distribution plan.

Interactivity

A key part of the pro AV and digital signage markets, interactivity refers to the end user’s ability to interact with a given system or device, whether through touchscreen capabilities, social media integration, near-field communication, or some other means. In many applications, interactivity has the potential to maximize end-user engagement and even improve brand recognition and perception.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT refers to the growing network of physical objects that include software, sensors, and network connectivity. These intelligent devices can gather and share data. IoT-enabled technology now includes everything from kitchen appliances to sports cars. Many pro AV and digital signage technologies are now network-enabled, providing your customers the chance to collect more data and gain a better understanding of their devices than ever before.

Software as a service (SaaS)

SaaS is an increasingly popular method of software distribution that is helping save customers time and money. Here’s how it works: Pro AV and digital signage applications—such as video conferencing and content creation—are hosted by a vendor and provided to the customer via the Internet, rather than as an all-in-one software package. Many VARs are beginning to offer pro AV and digital signage software through a SaaS model, because it holds the potential for significant benefits for both the customer and your business.

Target audience

This is the group of people that your customer is targeting with their pro AV or digital signage content. A target audience could include shoppers, potential clients, patients, employees, or anyone else who is the intended recipient of your customer’s information. Your messaging and technique will likely be very different depending upon your target audience.

What role do pro AV and digital signage play in your business? Are you planning to expand your pro AV/digital signage offering in 2016?