Why do most AV integrators NOT sell digital signage?”
This is a great question because I believe it leads back to the core of how digital signage and visual digital environments should be approached. If you consider that digital signage is comprised of four main components — Strategy, Content, Software and Hardware) (one could also argue a fifth component of Measurement) –the answer should be pretty clear. As someone who has focused on the strategic development of digital signage and content, I will have to make an educated guess based on my experience and the feedback I have heard directly from integrators I have worked with.
AV integrators have strong relationships with hardware and software suppliers. At the end of the day however, they have a core competency — procurement, integration and installation. I imagine they get their digital signage business either directly from A) the client’s real estate group via RFP B) from a design or architecture firm, or C) from hardware and software providers in order to build a digital signage experience.
Scenario C is ideal due to the experience of the partners. The AV partner is provided with all of the information and guidance required, builds/tests/installs what is needed and services it on an ongoing basis. Scenarios A and B could be more difficult depending on the expectations of those groups, the level of experience they have with digital signage, and often times a complete lack of a strategic content plan.
Without the strategy and subsequent content plan, it’s difficult for the AV integrator to know whether the build is correct or not, if the content will display correctly or not, and whether or not the selected hardware and software is correct for the end experience. At the end of the day, the AV integrator would have to have partnerships in place with multiple software and hardware vendors as well as associates that are capable and dedicated to working with clients on strategy and the network as a whole in order to aggressively and successfully pursue digital signage revenue.
A better approach would be for AV integrators to seek out and build relationships with companies that do provide strategic guidance and development, content and plans for measurement. Instead of pursuing business, they become a trusted implementation resource for a partner that will bring the digital signage business to them. This allows them to focus on core competencies like the planning and testing, installation and building an ongoing SLA to service the site — a good source of revenue for those with the network and infrastructure to do so.