When will Visix be purchased by someone like AMX, Extron, NEC or Scala? It's just a matter of time! Inc. magazine today ranked Visix, Inc., a digital signage software provider, no. 3479 on its fifth annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy — America’s independent entrepreneurs. This is Visix’s fifth consecutive year appearing on the list. Visix is ranked 238 in the software industry category.
This year, Visix released its first fully localizable digital signage application for international deployments, a new interactive wayfinding product, a Twitter board digital sign, and bolstered their creative services and consulting efforts.
In a stagnant economic environment, median growth rate of 2011 Inc. 500|5000 companies remains an impressive 94 percent. The companies on this year’s list report having created 350,000 jobs in the past three years, and aggregate revenue among the honorees reached $366 billion, up 14 percent from last year.
For more information on Visix, click here: http://www.visix.com
For more information on the Inc. 500|5000, click here: http://www.inc.com/500
On the heels of a planned or unplanned leak, HP issued a press release last week confirming it is looking at buying a big UK software firm and largely getting out of the hardware business -- repositioning the giant firm more along the lines of IBM and Oracle.
HP today commented on the recent announcement by Autonomy Corporation plc (LSE: AU.L). HP confirms that it is in discussions with Autonomy regarding a possible offer for the company.
HP also reported that it plans to announce that its board of directors has authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG). HP will consider a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction.
In addition, HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.
HP today announced preliminary results for the third fiscal quarter 2011, with revenue of $31.2 billion compared with $30.7 billion one year ago.
The Personal Systems Group is the massive business group that includes a little operating unit focused on moving hardware -- boxes and re-badged screens -- for the digital signage market. Working out of retail solutions and focused on that sector, HP did a deal later last year for a simplified “QuickStart” packaged that bundled HP players with a lite version of Scala’s software.
So if the PC group is spun off into its own entity -- you may recall Lenovo Thinkpad lappies used to be IBM Thinkpads -- where does that leave what can safely be assumed was a teeny piece of business for HP? Does the NewCo stay in the digital signage game?
Probably not. HP is a monstrously big company, and getting one business unit working with another would have already been a looooong journey. The stuff that was probably most intriguing in HP’s product portfolio -- the TouchPads and WebOS software -- don’t even have a future, at the moment. The TouchSmart all in one gear that HP has in the market could conceivably be great for interactive retail, but they’d have to be re-engineered to deal with shopper abuse.
In a spun-off entity, the focus would have to be on big money hardware with decent margins, or high volume consumer stuff. You have to wonder if there would be much enthusiasm for plain old x86 PCs and panels no end of companies also sell. That’s particularly true as the signage business gets more and more “app’d” and some of the big scale, simple output networks just run (not yet, but soon enough) on the same sort of low-cost processors in smart phones.
That said, HP has a big Point Of Sale business and digital signage definitely dovetails there.
I doubt guys like Bob Rosenberry -- who heads the digital signage effort -- has much if any idea yet where things are going.
The history of really big companies in this niche industry has not been great... at least so far. The smartest (and now biggest) -- that would be Apple, by the way -- has never done more than dip a little toe in the pond.
There’s a running inside joke in this industry about how many technology companies say McDonald’s is a client -- often based on a small pilot project with a local franchisee that no one at head office even knows about.
But I’d suggest Brazil-based Megamidia Group can make that assertion with a straight face, now that it is rolling out a staff-facing corporate TV network that will link every Golden Arch site in that country, to start.
The project is a long-term communications initiative driven by Arcos Dourados, which is the largest operator of McDonald’s restaurants in Latin America and the fast food giant’s biggest franchisee on the planet. The Corporate TV network is initially being rolled out to 600 locations in Brazil. The objective is staff training and overall corporate communications needs.
“We’ve been collaborating with McDonald’s for many years, delivering customized, in-store music programming that enhances their in-restaurant customer experience,” says Celso Hey, Megamidia’s President and CEO. “Our new Corporate TV initiative is a natural evolution of our positive working relationship.”
The content will be moved around by satellite.
Arcos Dourados has more than 80,000 employees, more than 1,750 company-operated McDonald’s, and another 1,300 dessert centers (whatever that means) and 267 McCafé locations. This is across from Mexico, through the Caribbean and all the way south to Argentina.
A lot of times I don’t write about stuff because it’s just not all that interesting –- the steady drip-drip of announcements of turnkey solutions (!!!) and remarkable (not) software advances being good examples.
Other times, there’s something there... but not enough to write a full-bodied post and then find an image so the home page stays consistent. The latter applies here. So, a few things I’ve noticed and am cobbling into an assorted article...
News of Amscreen in the UK expanding into Europe, and then acquiring media sales group Digicom, is a bit of a big moment for the industry. I haven’t been to the UK since 2007, so I’ve never seen Amscreen’s product in the wild. But from a distance, it’s always looked breathtakingly mediocre.
Smallish, utilitarian displays mounted on a pole at cash will tend to leave people uninspired, but the important thing to remember here is that it is working for the company, and apparently for the venue owners and advertisers.
One of the key reasons it works overall is that utilitarian plug’n'play design removes variables and drops manufacturing, install and management costs as low as they can go.
My worry is that Amscreen’s success will lead yet more entrepreneurs to conclude the gas station/convenience store sector is media business slam-dunk and go after it with their own start-up networks. It’s not.
Amscreen came from a PC manufacturing background and got plug'n'play down to a budget-price science, and then got seasoned, serious media people selling their inventory. They also started with a high public profile, a very deep Rolodex and enough money to get to critical mass in a hurry.
Learn from what these guys have done, but don’t assume what they’re up to is the universal answer.
Jeff Dowell has landed on his feet after his rapid rise and then fall at LG U.S., where he was the high profile VP of Digital Signage (after much head-hunting) for a couple of years. He was punted after DSE, as the South Korean company pretty much cleaned the Chicago house and put nothing but people from Seoul in charge of the various business units, including DS.
Dowell came from 3M and that’s where he’s going – moving from Chicago to the Twin Cities in the next little bit. I’ve spoken to him a couple of times recently and he’s happy and excited to be going back to 3M. It’s a different business unit than he was in, and he will be building up the digital signage business and defining where 3M sits in the so-called eco-system. He starts carrying a 3M card again later this month.
The DSE folks continue to broaden their horizons, and maybe hedge their bets a little.
They started the industry forums last year – weekend retreats where warm leads are wined, dined and golfed by paying vendor/sponsors – and those have proven very successful.
Now they have announced something called the DSE Huddle, the first set for the end of the month in Atlanta.
The Huddles are described as small events where industry people get together to network and talk shop. In other words, they are mixers.
The difference is that this is more a commercialized version of what’s been going in Toronto for a few years how, as the event includes a tour and a networking reception sponsored by several vendors. It also appears to be a lead generation tactic for the DSE people.
I like more informal mixers, and that’s the feedback I’ve received regarding the Toronto and DSE mixers I’ve had a hand in running. But I get the counter-argument for a more structured set-up. I’ve also definitely sensed more people show up when they know someone else is buying. Human nature, I suppose.
I have nothing to back this up other than observation and a hunch, but sense diversification is a good move by ExpoNation, which runs DSE. More and more companies tell me they are looking at vertically-focused trade shows – like a hospital or hotel technology conference – as alternatives or supplements to the catch-all of DSE.
I LOVE DSE, but as the industry gets more specialized I wonder how long it can stay big. Events like the forums and, now, the huddles take far less work and involve far less risk. Maybe Angelo Varrone and Chris Gibbs are placing some side bets on the future.
The following is reprinted with permission from the Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA). For more information, go to www.digitalscreenmedia.org.
A new report from IMS Research forecasts dramatic growth in digital signage over the next few years thanks to growing acceptance of the medium as a valuable ad delivery mechanism.
Whether your operation is a mom-and-pop store or a highfalutin retailer, take note. Digital signage is expected to see some remarkable growth over the next few years and much of that growth will come from retail.
A newly released report from IMS Research concludes that after a couple of sluggish years, the worldwide digital signage market will see growth in excess of 40 percent in 2013 to reach a total of $7 billion. And an important component of that market will be in the retail sector.
According to the research firm, which laid out its forecast in "The World Market for Digital Signage, 2011 Edition," an important reason for the growth is that digital signage is now entering the mainstream of media, which are regularly considered and evaluated by ad agencies and marketers for their advertising purchases.
"There is increasing recognition that it is a valuable tool for directly interacting with audiences, and providing a compelling additional dimension to augment overall advertising placements across media," a press release announcing the findings quotes Shane Walker, director of the Consumer Electronics Group at IMS Research, as saying.
With that growing recognition of the value of digital signage as an advertising medium, it's not too surprising that IMS Research found strong growth in the retail sector.
The new study shows that of all the vertical markets for digital signage, retail continues to be the largest, accounting for just under 25 percent of all digital signage hardware and software sales. By the end of 2015, IMS Research forecasts retail will remain the dominant sector of the digital signage market, reaching nearly $2 billion.
Long recognized as a fundamental strength of digital signage in retail, the ability to reach shoppers at the point of sale with a message aimed at influencing their final buying decision is likely to benefit from a trend that is in its infancy at home, but soon is likely to become commonplace: TV Everywhere.
Cable, Telco and satellite television providers have been promoting the concept of TV Everywhere for the past year or so. Perhaps you are familiar with the commercials. A TV viewer witnesses a raging battle between two robotic-looking creatures in his kitchen. As one appears to get the upper hand and slams his opponent through the wall, the viewer pauses the action with his remote control and walks into an adjacent room, where he hits the play button and the fight resumes.
Commercials like these are building awareness among television viewers that they are no longer chained to one TV set to watch a show. Rather they now for the ability to not only resume programming they are watching from set to set as they walk through their homes, but also access and resume a program on their laptop computers, smartphones or media tablets that they started to watch on their TVs.
Now extend this "TV Everywhere" concept to the realm of commercial messages and take that every-access notion to the retail store aisle with a digital signage end cap. Imagine how brand awareness campaigns in the home could morph into a product-specific offer at the point of purchase.
As Walker of IMS Research put it in the press release: "The tools are available today to create a consistent campaign that can reach an audience multiple times while in transit through billboards, street furniture, metro displays, video walls and in-store kiosks, all the while becoming more targeted through mobile device interaction. This experience will culminate in the customer reaching a touch-enabled screen at the point-of-sale where inventory can be checked and an order placed."
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