Tony Scott, Wallflower Advanced Digital Signage managing director, offers some pointers on the digital signage market, how to get into it and how to make money out of it.
Digital signage (DS), using digital displays to display information has been around for more than 20 years.
Dramatic hardware cost reductions and the availability of suitable software to power it is driving acceptance by New Zealand users.
How can resellers make money out of DS?
DS installations have two main components: hardware and software. Opportunities exist to profit from supplying hardware as well as software.
Other revenue generators include installation charges for cabling and display mounting, consultation and training in use of DS software. Development and supply of media and ongoing network monitoring and scheduling of media can be profitable.
How can I get into this market?
Take a hard look at your current skill assets and your future strategic plan. We are seeing a move from DS being handled by audio video specialists to IT integrators and DS- only specialists.
DS is deceptively hard. From the outside the market appears to be simple. Supply displays, mount them and plug in PCs or players using packaged software.
Show the user how to add media to a schedule and that is it. Maybe even consider a low cost 'Smart' TV or Android device where the user only has to plug in a USB key.
The reality is often different with the skill level required being much higher than expected.
DS used to be supplied on a vanilla basis with suppliers having only broad expertise in the market and each supplier working in a wide range of markets. That is changing rapidly. The New Zealand market is now large enough to support suppliers with specialised skill sets in distinct markets.
For example, our Wallflower software is sold by suppliers specialising in menu boards, education, retail and advertising and many others.
Look at what experience you can bring to the market
If you are an existing reseller of hardware, software or services you probably have experience in many markets.
Perhaps education where you supplied AV equipment or curriculum tools, or retail where you supplied KPI analysis tools, POS software, stock management packages etc. All of this is valuable expertise you can bring to the market.
There is a wealth of information on blogs and newsletters covering all aspects of DS. Do your research and look for a software/hardware combination you are able to resell. Look at similar installations in your preferred markets.
Your software supplier should be able to provide you with a portfolio of references in those markets. If they can't perhaps you need to look elsewhere unless you are happy to be local pioneers for the solution.
Be prepared to put in the hard yards to be able to offer a good service. Users expect their solution to have a high availability and that support will be available on demand and some installations such as menu boards are mission critical.