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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

Location

333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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June 11, 2012 |

Digital Signage for Smartphones

As the digital signage market expands, it’s time to explore the possibilities in a smaller aspect of the market — smartphones. By Hailey Lynne McKeefry

As the digital signage market expands, it’s time to explore the possibilities in a smaller aspect of the market — smartphones.

By Hailey Lynne McKeefry

From retail outlets to doctors’ offices, digital signs are becoming a common sight for the average consumer. These same individuals are pocketing smartphones that have the potential to carry the same types of messages on their much smaller screens.

“We know that mobile solutions have inherent unique characteristics and that the technology is now solid and it works,” says Lyle Bunn, principal and strategy architect at Bunn Co., a digital signage provider in Brighton, Ontario. “We know that the application of the media produces significant benefits. It is important now to understand that it is no longer a technology looking for a†solution, but rather a task of identifying the scenarios in which this solution is ideally suited.”

By making the small screen of a smartphone as relevant to the user as the big digital signage screens, solution providers can expand their service offerings and better serve customers. “Screens are ubiquitous in our lives now,” says David Little, director of marketing, Keywest Technology Inc., a digital signage solution and service provider in Lenexa, Kan. “We are no longer talking about just nerds or geeky people. Today, smartphones are helping people communicate and connect with each other in new ways.” †

Smartphone Market Growth
Smartphones are also becoming increasingly popular. In 2011, the worldwide smartphone market reached 487.7 million units, an increase of 63 percent over the prior year, according to market research firm Canalys. By comparison, the global client PC market grew only 15 percent in 2011 to 414.6 million units.

This phenomenal growth creates both opportunities and challenges for solution providers. While the market has moved beyond the early-adopter stage to more mainstream users, creating a larger pool of revenue, “the supply models are not locked down or etched in stone yet,” notes Bunn. “I believe we will see whole new enterprises moving in to supply the demand.” Among them will be traditional digital signage providers as well as advertising and marketing agencies. “There is lots of opportunity, and naturally there will also be a lot of jostling for the available revenues,” says Bunn.

To make inroads into this new market, solution providers must shift their focus from technology to content. “It always has to get back to the core strategy of the project, rather than the enabling technology,” says Little. “We focus on creating more ways for our customers to reach out. We have to be technology agnostic.”

Cineplex Digital Solutions, a provider of managed services for digital signage based in Toronto, for example, started selling proprietary technology16 years ago, but has since abandoned the exclusive approach. “When you tie yourself to proprietary technology, you have to convince the client that the technology is right for them,” notes Steve Harris, vice president and general manager at Cineplex. “Now, we bring them solutions from the marketplace and charge them with services.”

New Challenges
But getting into the mobile digital signage market is not without its challenges. Solution providers may have to hire new types of talent, particularly individuals with experience in marketing and creative services. “People assume that content is the easy part and technology is the hard part, but it’s really the other way around,” says Harris. “It carries through that, when you are sending content to the smartphone, if the creative concept isn’t good, the whole program won’t work no matter what.”

A strong team will help customers—whether in retail, healthcare, or some other vertical market—create a campaign that is tailored to the brand or the store, says Harris. “We work to understand what problem customers are trying to solve, and what they are trying to achieve, and then tailor each program to the customer,” he adds. “There is no approach that will fit every customer.”

By choosing the right technology, crafting the right message, and delivering it to the best channel, digital signage providers will be poised to capture business growth and ongoing service revenues.


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