As the pro AV and digital signage industry continues its seemingly unbounded expansion into ever-increasing verticals, new and potentially lucrative opportunities are opening up for value-added resellers (VARs) to explore. The global pro AV market is expected to be worth $116 billion by 2016, according to InfoComm International's Global AV Market Definition and Strategy Survey.
With all this revenue being spent on pro AV and digital signage, the message to VARs should be clear?customers are turning to pro AV and digital signage to create interactive and immersive digital experiences that not only drive sales and educate, but also do so in increasingly innovative and creative ways.
VARs should expect customers to come to them seeking turnkey solutions as well as the latest and greatest in hardware and software technologies. Keeping abreast of industry and marketing trends will be the best way to ensure company profitability and that customers are being offered the best solutions possible. Devices, trends and solutions VARs will want to focus on include:
1. Video walls
They're no longer your grandfather's clunky video wall modules of yesteryear. Today's video wall manufacturers are producing high-quality, professional-grade digital video wall solutions featuring true HD 1920x1080 resolution with monitor sizes exceeding 70 inches. Ultra narrow bezel unit widths as low as 5.5mm are common and dropping in the foreseeable future. More and more manufacturers now offer complete factory-to-install turnkey solutions. Why? Because customers want to focus on content delivery, not diagnostics, implementation, and support?and they're willing to pay for these technological advances and services.
2. Cloud-based digital signage software management
VARs will undoubtedly field more requests for turnkey, end-to-end digital signage services that offer services such as:
- Cloud-based access from multiple locations
- Content services (from channel development to content production and scheduling)
- Technology design, implementation, and management
- Interactive solutions
- Measurement and analysis
- 24/7 technical support
Many customers will want to opt out of the nuts-and-bolts technical aspects and focus on content delivery. VARs that partner with reliable vendors or offer the services themselves will be in prime position to capitalize on this increasingly vital niche.
3. Migration of digital signage technology into more diverse applications
Previously, digital signage solutions were confined to a few specific applications such as airports and train stations, but as the technology is more embraced by marketers, VARs will likely receive inquiries from customers wanting to implement these solutions in a variety of locations and for newer applications.
For example, digital signage was used to bring real-time (accurate) opinion polling to the people in recent U.K. elections. A campaign in Australia made use of digital signage by allowing customers to arrange Coca-Cola cans on an interactive display located in a busy urban area. The correct arrangement prompted a can of soda to drop out from kiosk.
4. Smarter audio
Audio equipment has come a long way in the last few years with respect to speakers, mics, amplifiers, mixers, structured wiring, and more. Perhaps the biggest buzz is coming from steerable line arrays, which essentially direct the audio output from a speaker, thus enhancing its acoustic and aesthetic quality. These speakers operate by directing "beams" of sound at angles between 5 and 30 degrees. This ability to generate sweet spots is a significant breakthrough in providing audio at traditionally tricky venues such as cathedrals and large cavernous halls.
5. Adjustable brightness projectors
There was a time when video projectors were limited to a few thousand lumens. They were tricky to set up and prone to malfunction. Today's 3-chip DLP projectors cover a broad spectrum of applications from board rooms to nightclubs. But perhaps the biggest innovations have come with large venue DLP projectors capable of brightness levels ranging from 26,000 to 40,000 lumens. The bonus is these high-brightness event projectors can be programmed to adjust light output in 2,000 incremental steps?a game changer when using these projectors for outdoor applications with varying light levels. Many come with smart features such as wireless control and a preview mode. VARs may field more requests in the near future by customers seeking to use them for dramatic outdoor marketing campaigns or entertainment events.
In which verticals are you seeing the most changes in pro AV and digital signage applications?