We’re seeing a lot of exciting digital signage news come from the 2016 Digital Signage Expo show floor. Mike Kilian, director of business development at Mvix, spoke with CI about what the commercial integration industry can do to take full advantage of the wealth of opportunity within the digital signage market.
Founded in 2005, Mvix creates affordable digital signage software and hardware systems, multi-screen video wall solutions, interactive digital kiosk systems and content management systems. The company’s solutions are implemented across markets such as retail, food service, hospitality, corporate offices, education, healthcare and manufacturing.
Do you think that the commercial integration community fully appreciates the opportunities that digital signage present?
Absolutely not. It’s disappointing how commercial integrators are not taking on a lot of digital signage projects. There is a lot of money in this growing market and I’ll tell you why.
Today’s consumers are already fully adapted into the digital world. In fact, by the year 2020, we’ll have an entire generation, Generation C (for “connected”), that will have grown up in a primarily digital world. Their familiarity with and reliance on technology is transforming how businesses are communicating and engaging with their customers and employees. Because static signs and posters do not stimulate this demographic, businesses are turning to digital technologies to connect with their customers and employees.
Digital signage is one of the marketing and communication technologies that businesses are increasingly implementing. It is gaining traction with SMBs and large organizations—ideas have turned into actions and pilots are becoming rollouts.
I’m now going to state the obvious: the digital signage industry is very competitive. There are over 600 providers, and this number is steadily going up. To gain market share, digital signage providers are deploying marketing campaigns that label their solutions as simple, easy-to-use, plug-and-play, etc.
These campaigns, however, do not tell the entire story.
To be highly effective and produce great ROI and ROO, a digital signage solution needs to comprise more than just the hardware and software. Services such as consultation, network design, content production, installation, custom integration, managed services and ongoing support are what make a digital signage project successful. These services are the ‘digital signage money makers’ for integrators. They are what turn a basic digital signage system into a complete turnkey solution.
Without the benefit of these services that are uniquely offered by integrators, a digital signage system may not address the customer’s unique challenges effectively.
Describe the type of system design and installation company that you trust to represent your brand well when it comes to digital signage deployment?
We like to partner with companies with integrity in installation. This starts from the ground up. A great system design and installation company will evaluate and certify their installers to make sure they have the required skills. They’ll also vet the installers for skills beyond installation e.g. professionalism, courtesy, communication etc. These installers are, by extension, a reflection of us so we want to be represented in the proper light.
We also want a company that has project management attributes. Are the project details being handled properly? Is there clear communication between the project manager and the customer? Is (s)he communicating well with the digital signage vendor? Are the people, resources and schedules being aligned properly?
Are there ill-prepared companies installing digital signage and giving the category a black eye? How can that be combated?
Integrators, and sales professionals in general, have a responsibility to educate their clients. An integrator should be an experienced resource that customers can leverage to deliver a successful ongoing project. When we educate our clients about what a successful project looks like, they’ll be better equipped to set realistic goals, expectations and budgets.
Some integrators dive into digital signage projects without first getting some insight on what an effective implementation looks like, and how an effective digital signage deployment should be executed. In particular, they are making one big mistake that end users are notorious for—they’re allocating most of the budget to digital signage hardware & software and not taking services such as content production, management and ongoing support into consideration. When approached this way, the ongoing success of the digital signage project will be compromised.