Industry News

Sharp’s New Strategy, New Products, New Alliance Unveiled at Inspire Expo

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Sid Stanley

At Inspire Expo in Malta, a two day event for its European dealer community (550 dealer representatives from more than 30 countries), Sharp delivered a new converged strategy for its partner business—built on their new vision to transform the way that organisations engage with information through connected technologies.

To achieve this Sharp now combines its sales and support structure for its Document and Visual Solutions businesses across Europe to offer a complete portfolio through a single business to business sales organisation.

Sharp, like all TV and display makers, has been under pressure in the consumer business—a business that has overshadowed its profitable B2B business which consistently delivers growth. Now Sharp will concentrate on B2B and the integration of its Document and Visual Solutions business is part of Sharp’s continuing restructuring across Europe

The Sharp B2B team will work with customers, examining how they capture, process, display and share information, developing solutions which make information more applicable and more accessible, to inspire a more informed business environment.

Sid Stanley, Sharp’s General Manager, Visual Solutions Europe, took the stage at Inspire Expo to announce a European partnership with Crestron to offer complete meeting room solutions for a more effective collaborative working environment.

The partnership brings together Sharp’s range of BIG PAD interactive flat panel displays with the Crestron RL™ group collaboration solution which incorporates Microsoft Lync (and Skype for Business Room System) software.

Sharp has seen significant year-on-year growth in the interactive corporate meeting room market, as many companies recognise the importance of encouraging creativity and enhanced productivity within their work processes. Sharp is a pioneer in bringing digital collaboration to the meeting room, and is now taking its solutions to the next level with the 80” multi-touch Capacitive P-CAP touch technology.


Says Stanley, “In the meeting room the needs of our customers have transformed over recent years, from a simple audio visual device requirement to one where immersive, connected technology easily contributes to productive and engaging meetings. The combination of Crestron’s experience of content and solution management systems and Sharp’s experience in the interactive display market now answers the increasingly diverse requirements of the modern workplace.”

At Inspire Expo, Sharp showed its most advanced BIG PAD, the 80” collaborative touchscreen, PN-80TC3, for the first time. Designed for professional environments, BIG PAD PN-80TC3 will transform meeting and conference rooms into creative and effective spaces where people can easily present words, pictures, video and sounds on an outstandingly smooth projected capacitive (P-CAP) touch screen, work together on one or more surfaces using intelligent pens, and two-way screen share with colleagues through their mobile devices.

BIG PAD PN-80TC3 builds on the heritage of Sharp’s range of interactive flat panel displays. It recognises up to 10 points of simultaneous touch contact with an advanced 220Hz sampling algorithm, and allows 4 people to write on the screen at the same time using Sharp smart pens, letting people write and draw to support creative brainstorms, lectures and planning meetings. Several displays can be linked together to form an enlarged touch surface with the Multi-Board functionality.

BIG PAD PN-80TC3 comes with new software to support multi-board configurations for data-intensive and critical-sharing environments and Touch Display Link 2.0 to let screen content be shared wirelessly with up to 50 mobile devices.

Go Sharp’s BIG PAD PN-80TC3

Go Sharp Visual Solutions

Samsung: Rolling with Life-Saving Signage

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Samsung Argentina

In Argentina, traffic accidents kill one person every hour.

On narrow two-lane roads, impatient drivers often pull out hoping to overtake slower-moving trucks-- and hit head-on the on-coming traffic.

Samsung and its agency Leo Burnett Argentina wanted to help reduce the number of traffic-related deaths caused on those dangerous roads.

Their idea, now an international award winner, was to install a wireless camera on the front of Samsung trucks and mount four Samsung outdoor monitors on the back.

Traffic stuck behind a truck on a two-laner can have a clear view of traffic from the opposite direction-- making a driver's decision to overtake another vehicle less risky.

The video showing the tech in action has racked up nearly 2 million YouTube views so far.

Watch Samsung Rolls Out Life-Saving Signage

The Digital Signage Summits Start-Ups

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Florian Rotberg

The first event from the partnership between Integrated Systems Events (ISE) and invidis consulting, featured more than 40 speakers, 30 exhibitors, 25 presentations, workshops and panel discussions and attracted 477 delegates – with almost half of the attendance visiting from outside Germany.

This year’s Digital Signage Summit (DSS) Europe 2015 continued the legacy that invidis consulting started with its first Digital Signage Conference in 2007.

DSS Europe 2015 was split over two days. Both days saw 30 industry-leading companies take over the grand atrium of Hilton Munich Airport. Exhibitors included: NEC Display Solutions, Samsung, LG, Sharp, BenQ, Toshiba, Elo, Barco, Matrox and Scala.

There was also an exclusive launch from Google: the EMEA launch of its Chromebase digital signage solution.

invidis consulting’s Managing Director Florian Rotberg comments: "DSS Europe 2015 has been a great success. It was our largest conference to date, with strong international representation, which demonstrated perfectly what the joint venture between invidis and ISE is capable of. The matchmaking service proved to be a tremendous success. The feedback from delegates was very promising and we will extend DSS matchmaking to more events in the future. We're looking forward to creating a full two-day event next year, with many exciting new event features.”

The focus now shifts to two new Digital Signage Summit conferences.

The next event is scheduled for the Expocentre, Moscow on 28-29 October. Chaired by Florian Rotberg, Digital Signage Summit Russia, will feature an exclusive opening forum focusing on Museums and Exhibition spaces which will be moderated by Alexei Bogdanov, Deputy Director of The State Hermitage Museum.

On Day 2 there will be a keynote presentation from Rotberg plus case study sessions covering the following areas: Quick Service Restaurants, Cosmetics, Drugstores, Banking and Retail Jewellery outlets.

Two weeks later the inaugural Digital Signage Summit MENA will take place on the 16 November at the Conrad Hotel, Dubai. DSS MENA will examine global digital signage and DooH trends and how they can be adapted to the needs of the region. The conference will focus on smart innovations for digital communication and explore this through the themes of Smart Experience and Smart Advertising.

Go The Digital Signage Summits

tvONE Exits Nortek in a Management Buy-Out

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They are calling it a "friendly management buy-out." tvONE, supplier of high performance video processing equipment, secures a management buyout of the company from Nortek, Inc.

tvONE logo

The acquisition was completed July 31, 2015, with a new board of directors comprised of the tvONE management team; David Van Horn, David Reynaga and Andy Fliss, with continued active involvement of Frithjof Becker and Richard Mallett.

"We are extremely excited about independently driving the future of the company," says Andy Fliss, Vice President, Sales and Marketing. "This management group intimately knows and cares about our co-workers. And we are prepared to solidify tvONE's philosophical principles and chart a company business plan geared for growth and success."

tvONE CTO, David Reynaga, adds, "We have the right building blocks and passion to deliver memorable customer experiences though innovative products and, we are absolutely committed to providing unrivaled service and support."

The company expects to operate smoothly through the transition with no changes in customer-related activity. David Van Horn, tvONE CFO, comments, "The friendly MBO arrangement with Nortek has put tvONE in an excellent position to continue growth and success into the future."

The "friendly buyout" is in contrast with an unfriendly buyout... companies that are raking in high profits generally don't get to walk out the door of a holding company. The only reason for a "friendly buyout" is that the holding company is not losing a valuable asset.  In the case of Nortek, with Gefen being pulled into Core Brands about the same time... it would seem that Nortek figures it has nothing lose (and something to gain) by letting a MBO go through. For example, does the friendly MBO include future payments based on sales turnover to Nortek that might turn previous losses (by Nortek corporate accounting that might include corporate allocations and management fees) into a positive contribution?

This commentary doesn't take anything away from the courage (and perhaps even the business acumen) of the new tvONE board. The world is filled with companies that have no value to a conglomerate but after a buyout start putting gold in the pockets of entrepreneurs. Often a company can be more responsive to customers in a flatter management process. In this case, that certainly seems like this is the intention-- and that's good news for distributors and integrators.

Go tvONE Exits Nortek

The Digital Media Iceberg

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"A successful digital media solution accounts for more than what you can see on the surface," says Convergent"It’s what we consider the "The Digital Media Iceberg..."

Convergent Digital MediacebergSolutions are getting more complex, not less. Convergent argues all the attention is given "to things like content and bezel-less screens" which leads users into making mistakes with their enterprise networks and the infrastrure that drives effective digital signage, the modern digital signage that encompasses so much more digital media than the "signage" of even 5 years ago.

Ballantyne Strong Inc. company, for 35 years they’ve been working with clients to transform the customer experience and enhance the communication across employee channels. Convergent want to challenge customers to think differently about how to engage with their customers and employees-- and the technology they use to do it.

With the addition of new technology (just take, for example, mobile and Big Data and iBeacons), digital "signage" just doesn't encompass what can be achieved

Convergent describe the industry as a Digital Media Iceberg with three key tiers:

  1. The Really Sexy Stuff
  2. The Pretty Cool Stuff
  3. The Geeky Stuff...(that if you don't think about your project will fail)

You'll have to download the free white paper to see their full infographic, but an iceberg may be the perfect metaphor to illustrate the different aspects that makeup today's state-of-the-art complete digital signage solution.

And if your client and their "ship-of-state" ignore this iceberg, the mistake will only be... titanic.

Go The Digital Media Iceberg