Guest Column | December 7, 2011

Digital Signage: A VAR's Primer

Gene Ornstead Viewsonic

By Gene Ornstead, digital signage director, ViewSonic

How significant is the opportunity for VARs to sell digital signage to their restaurant customers? Retail customers?

Digital signage solutions provide excellent revenue and margin opportunities for VARs who target the restaurant or QSR vertical. We are seeing an increase in the adoption rate by restaurant customers as prices come down and ease of use and simplicity increases. The most common restaurant application is the presentation of menu selections combined with the government required nutritional information. This information can be updated in real time with the use of simple digital signage content management solutions. In addition, promotional information can be added in the case of seasonal menu changes.

New opportunities are becoming available with the use of network digital signage in the back office for employee training. Training content can be sent over the internet (WAN) for use by the individual restaurant location. This adds benefits to the restaurant owners with lower insurance rates as well as provides the VAR another area of possible margin income.

The VAR can benefit by selling the total solution. There is margin opportunity in the hardware, installation, possible network configuration, service, and in some cases, content development.

Retail is another growing opportunity as the prices and solutions become more affordable. We are seeing smaller screen deployments as consumer information is moving closer to the display case. We have seen this at the POS cash out for some time. We are beginning to see smaller screen deployments such as 10-, 22-, and 32-inch in retail locations advertising product highlights and benefits. VARs can again benefit by targeting the retail signage vertical with a total solution that consists of screen, content management, network solutions — wired and wireless, and installation services. There are a category of VARs we call systems integrators that specialize in this kind of new business.