AUO acquires ComQi to address market demands
Recently, AU Optronics, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, acquired ComQi, a digital signage software provider. The two companies plan to offer a one-stop solution for digital signage, as well as address key market trends. Digital Signage Today spoke with AU Optronics and ComQi to learn about what this acquisition means for the industry at large.
Due to increased digital engagement, end users now have access to far more data than ever before. However, turning that data into insights on customers can be a challenge.
Hank M Liu, senior executive, AUO's smart retail for U.S., said one reason AUO chose ComQi was to gain more insights into what customers actually want and how they react to digital signage.
By using ComQi's CMS, end users and AUO can now get a clearer picture of how customers react and respond to digital signage. In fact, Ifti Ifhar, CEO, ComQi, pointed out that the company will soon announce its next generation of in-venue analytics solution for retailers and other verticals.
He also mentioned that more retailers are using sensors integrated into their stores to gain insights into customer behaviors, so it is more important than ever for digital signage vendors to be on the cutting edge of analytics and IoT.
Offering a one-stop shop
For companies looking to get into digital signage, one of the biggest challenges is figuring out what they need and how to put it all together. They may end up going to several different companies for the software, hardware and content management. ComQi already offers a one-stop shop for digital signage to make it easier for end users.
"If you look at the landscape of DOOH, digital signage and venue technology, you usually have hardware suppliers that stick to their niche," Stuart Armstrong, group president, ComQi, said in an interview. "If they do have a CMS, it's a low level, entry level CMS that isn't very powerful."
Armstrong also pointed out that software companies typically don't offer full service hardware installation or take on a full "agency level" approach to digital signage solutions.
Meeting globalizing needs
Retailers are growing bigger globally while also moving into smaller spaces at the same time. In order to keep with these trends, digital signage vendors also need to be able to think big and small at the same time.
Armstrong said that retailers often have a presence around the globe, but it can be difficult to get a vendor who can operate in several different countries to provide the solution they need. Vendors need to have the right certifications, resources and be able to meet service requirements for each country.
Armstrong argued that because AUO is a global company and ComQi has global clients, it is a "natural thing to do" for them.
On the local level, many retailers are looking to optimize their shopping experiences by moving into smaller urban areas. In these new stores, the retailers are looking for a digital signage solution that truly boosts the experience.
"They are not looking for a screen on a stick in a corner," Armstrong said. In order to optimize their stores, they are looking at everything from better analytics solutions to greater integration with their various systems.
They are also looking at reducing their inventory to fit in these smaller spaces.
To do this, Armstrong said they need to integrate their messaging with their supply chain, POS and e-commerce to create a seamless experience. This helps ensure the stores keep track of their stock and better react to customer demands and trends.
Through this acquisition, ComQi and AUO plan to provide several integrated hardware/software solutions that can keep pace with these trends.
Image via ComQi
Companies: ComQi, Inc.
Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for DigitalSignageToday.com. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.www