Digital Signage Storms the Channel

IT products distributor Tech Data builds out specialized business unit with several new deals.

Digital signage is one of the hottest plays in the channel these days – and it’s poised for hotter times ahead thanks to Tech Data expanding its specialized business unit (SBU) for digital signage software and hardware.

The most significant part of the expanded SBU is Tech Data’s new distribution deals with market leaders HANNspree North America, Hitachi Home Electronics, and Vivitek Corp. However, the expansion also covers the addition of Panasonic commercial displays; digital signage bundles from leading vendor partners; and nationwide installation support services through TDOnCall.

“Our expansion is in response to growing demand from our customers for greater product choice and depth of service,” said Wendy Linsky, Tech Data’s vice president of peripherals product marketing. “Digital signage is among the fastest growing technology segments in the channel.”

Digital signs are used in both public places (train and bus stations, retail stores, etc.) and private spaces (corporate offices) to convey information or advertisements to a targeted audience. Digital signage can be in the form of LCDs, LEDs, plasma screens or even images projected onto a wall.

Researcher Frost & Sullivan has forecast that the worldwide digital signage systems market will grow from $313.9 million in revenues in 2006 to more than $1 billion in 2012 at a compound annual growth rate of more than 20 percent.

Linsky said Tech Data’s Digital Signage and Projectors SBU is dedicated to providing VAR customers with the products, support and services they need to build a successful digital signage practice.

“We assist resellers fulfilling the demand for digital signage products, especially in key vertical markets such as healthcare and education, where IT spending is projected to increase due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” she said.

Linsky noted that virtually every vertical market -- from schools to retail businesses to government agencies -- is using or seeking sleek flat-panel displays and TVs to educate and entertain students, customers, patients and other constituents.

For VARs, selling digital signage solutions can be an unusually rewarding opportunity to earn extremely high margins – 50 percent or higher.

While it helps to be a digital signage specialist to make the highest margins, ordinary VARs can make them too, said Peter Mateyko, reseller manager, Rise Vision, the Etobicoke, Ontario-based developer of the Rise Display Network (RDN), a web-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) content management system for digital signage.

“Our solution gives VARs complete control over how they bill (monthly, quarterly, annually) as well as how much they charge,” he said. “By becoming one of our private network operators, a VAR should easily make 70 percent to 95 percent margins just on the ongoing software subscriptions.”

Digital signage presents multiple revenue opportunities for resellers, said Lynn Hudgens, owner of Turning Point Solutions Group, a solution provider in Alexandria, La.

“As these signs serve so many different applications, they give us the opportunity to sell to all kinds of organizations and businesses,” he said.

TAGS: services,vertical,SaaS,marketing,channel

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