It wasn't too long ago that traditional AV integrators were called upon to satisfy the majority of video- and audio-related projects. But as digital signage grew and evolved from the simple distribution of broadcast video to software-based data network communications, so did the complexity and sales model to support it.
Today, we are seeing the growing trend where PC and display manufacturers are selling entire signage solutions directly to the end user. A trend that started with clients wanting to work with a single company that could design, deploy and support their entire signage project nationwide, as opposed to working with multiple suppliers and integrators. We call this the "One Stop Shop" or "One Throat to Choke" approach.
Although most of these manufacturers understand and do a great job in delivering parts of the signage solution, few of them have the overall knowledge, synergy and resources to deliver and support the entire solution to end users. The few that have been successful have done so by shifting from the traditional box-mover mentality to the value-add solution approach. By investing in sales engineers, project management and establishing strategic alliances with key complementary partners, the turnkey solution manufacturer was born.
The other vital component to this new approach is the ability to embrace the resellers and integrators whenever possible. Effectively balancing the needs of the channel partners and the end user business is critically important. You don't want to alienate the channel partners who, after all, provide the majority of the opportunities and business.
Steve Acquista, CTS, DSCE, is a 20-plus year AV and IT industry veteran and the Sr. Director of Digital Signage at DT Research, a manufacturer of information appliances including digital signage solutions, mobile tablets and thin clients for the retail, hospitality, health care, education, transportation and government markets.