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Digital Signage Debrief: The Evolution of the Digital Signage Market

Digital Signage Debrief: The Evolution of the Digital Signage Market

Allsee has been focused on making digital signage accessible for almost 14 years and our sales specialists have a great insight on how the market has evolved. So how did it all start? And how have our products developed since then?

In this episode of Digital Signage Debrief with our Sales Director Richard Sherry, we explore some of his earliest memories and milestones while working in the digital signage industry, as well as how our partners’ feedback drives our product development.

Watch the video below to get an insight into the industry’s evolution and more:

If you’d rather read what they had to say, scroll down for the transcript.

Digital Signage Debrief is an ongoing video series about a variety of topics related to the digital signage industry. If you missed any of the previous episodes, watch them now on our YouTube channel:

We’re always open to topic ideas for future videos. If you have any suggestions or if you want to discuss anything from episode four in more detail, don’t hesitate to contact your Account Manager or email us at news@allsee-tech.com.

 

Transcript

 

Thomas: Hello and welcome to episode 4 of Digital Signage Debrief. My name is Thomas Fraser-Bacon. On this episode we’ll be looking at the evolution of the digital signage market, specifically over the last 14 years that Allsee have been around. My guest today is our Sales Director Richard Sherry, who has been with Allsee almost since the very beginning, so has seen many changes within the industry as well as developments within Allsee. Good morning Richard and welcome.

Richard: Good morning Tom, delighted to be here.

Thomas: So as I mentioned, you’ve been with Allsee for over a decade and prior to this you’ve had a wealth of experience in various electronic industries. So what are some of your earliest memories when you entered the world of digital signage and commercial displays?

Richard: Well the first thing I remember, we had about five products in our range, which is a nucleus of what has become today. So I think the first thing that struck me from my background, which was traditional LCD TV, was the fact that there was a screen there, it was very natural to me and I could see the potential on what has become a really interesting market for us all. Those early days were very fond, I think one of the main challenges at the time that I seem to recall was actually explaining to people what digital signage was all about because I don’t think people really got it, but now these days they walk into a showroom like we’ve got today and people know what it’s all about, so there’s less of an issue on that message than it ever was in the early days.

Thomas: Absolutely, I mean you mentioned obviously your background being in domestic TVs, I think as the company was starting, it was at that perfect time. Obviously Baoli, the founder and Managing Director, seeing the opportunity of more and more commercial displays cropping up in train stations and airports, departure boards and things like that. And at the time, obviously digital photo frames were quite popular, so he kind of combined the two technologies with the ultimate goal of making digital signage commercial displays accessible to everybody. And I think even though our products have changed over the years and obviously our range has expanded, we’ve always tried to kind of keep that at the core really and keep the simplicity and accessibility at the centre of everything we do, would you agree with that?

Richard: Yeah, absolutely. I think if there was any sort of magic about the industry, what we tried to do is debunk all that with a very simple plug and play, which we developed in the early days and that was very much the core of our raison d’etre if you will. So just to keep things very very simple, well not exactly mass market because there wasn’t a mass market at the time, but it certainly was just the way that we went to market with a very simple product, very simple piece of editing software and just a small range to begin with, and it narrowed the choice down and it was more direct in terms of choice.

Thomas: Absolutely. Okay, so what would you say are some of the milestones or high points?

Richard: I think throughout our sort of journey so far it’s been, it’s obviously building the team, it’s been quite important and obviously we’ve moved premises, this is our third premises now, we’re very proud of, and I think it’s just really been the way that we’ve built our part in the industry along the way, again keeping things to the basics with plug and play. Then we came along with the CMS and the forward thinking of that, and the fact that we’ve kept the range together in a very concise way, and again kept it to a very simple offer that people that are not necessarily into digital signage could actually understand and get to grips with it.

Thomas: Absolutely, I mean, I guess one of the things as well, I mentioned just now, obviously we’ve kind of gone from USB plug and play and then I think 2013 we launched our CMS, our network solution, and we still tried to keep the same ethos again, trying to keep things as simple as possible so we created an all-in-one system. Obviously these days, a lot of the bigger manufacturers, pretty much everyone, is emulating that, but I think because of our Queen’s Award win a few years ago, we were, again like you say, at the forefront of that development as well. I’d also say that a lot of our R&D, our product development, is driven by partner feedback. I mean, I know a lot of your partners give a lot of feedback that drives some of our direction.

Richard: Yeah, I think what we’ve done along the way is trying to keep it very simple, try to keep the offer very simple, because what you have to remember is that digital signage was quite new to a lot of people and I think what we managed to do and maintain was to actually make that that journey as painless as possible. You know, with a good concise range of products, good technical support, good technical innovations like you mentioned, the plug and play which it was in the early days a very simple piece of do-it-yourself software. Through to the evolution of the CMS, which is a full-blown industry type standard CMS, I think we’ve gradually grown along the way with the business but we’ve done it in such a way where we’ve kept the offer really simple and attractive.

Thomas: From your experience, your partner’s feedback, how would you say over the years that end user requirements or expectations have evolved and changed?

Richard: I think from going from just a screen to things like free standing screens, dual sided screens, screens for estate agents… I think the applications have widened and the breadth of product range has widened since we first began those early years and what we tried to do and I think we did really well, we tend to find a slot and develop something into that slot, and we do that very well and the breadth of range like I said, at the moment, is probably as wide as it’s ever been, so I think that’s something we do really well.

Thomas: Yeah I agree, I think from my perspective one thing we do well is obviously we offer a very wide range of solutions, we offer lots of innovative solutions that potentially many others don’t offer like our battery displays, our rod powered displays for estate agent windows, the double-sided screens, big range of outdoor screens, etc. I think a lot of that innovation and R&D is really driven by partner feedback. Obviously we’ve got such a wide range of partners, you know from AV integrators to traditional sign companies and distributors, and I think a lot of them with their ears to the ground, without their constant feedback and constant feedback from their end users about what the market wants and what the market’s crying out for, that’s really what kind of drives much of our development.

Richard: Absolutely, I think over the years we’ve got a very loyal customer base now and as you say it’s really important that you listen to the needs of the market and not just go down some development route which could be a blind alley. I think where we’ve used our partners for technical input and market input, it’s been sort of quite invaluable. And that means at the end of the day you get buy-in from clients and things such as that, and what hopefully you come out with at the end of the day is there’s a product that’s right for the market.

Thomas: Definitely, I mean I think again what sets us apart from other manufacturers, some of the bigger brands, is if some of our partners who potentially buy from other brands, if they’ve got any feedback, there isn’t really a channel to provide that feedback to, obviously with us we’re always kind of –

Richard: Well exactly, it’s still a small company, I can’t imagine the likes of some of the bigger guys listening to the guy on the street, it’s very much driven by R&D development teams.

Thomas: Absolutely, okay so where do you see the industry moving in the future, within the next few years?

Richard: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of exciting developments on the horizon that we’re involved with: electronic shelf labelling, direct view LED, something that’s becoming more prevalent in the marketplace. Also touch technology, there’s more and more touch technology in the field now so we’ve seen the growth in that area and of course with outdoor screens, so there’s a lot of interesting growth areas within the marketplace now that we’re in a very good position to maximize.

Thomas: Yeah definitely, I mean you mentioned direct view LED and ESLs and that’s obviously two areas that we’re heavily investing in because we can see obviously they’re emerging technologies and they’re kind of just around the corner. But I’d say, you mentioned towards the end as well outdoor displays, we’ve had outdoor displays on the market for as long as I’ve been with the company and we’ve had a lot of time to develop those over the years and learn and develop the range that we’ve got. I think that’s an area at the moment, from my understanding anyway, within the last couple years or so that’s really kind of exploding. Have you seen the same from your side?

Richard: Absolutely yeah, I mean in terms of the again, the breadth of the range that we have, you know we’ve got the touch, we’ve got wall mounted, we’ve got freestanding so yeah, that marketplace is one that’s on the ascendancy definitely.

Thomas: Okay well then, thanks for taking the time to speak with me this morning Richard, really appreciate it. If you’d like to know more about any of the topics discussed on today’s chat especially some of the new and exciting products and technologies, please get in touch with us today.

 

Leonor Guedes is the Digital Marketing Apprentice at Allsee Technologies.

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