A view from the top

ViewSonic Corp. is not your father’s old display company. This is not to say the Walnut, Calif.-based company is changing its focus away from displays. That is not the case. But what the company is doing is furthering the product into areas never dreamed of before.

For example, in partnership with Apple Computer it will launch a display with direct connectivity for iPods called a ViewDock. The company will also release a display with a 360-degree swivel.

These are just two examples of a company trying to push the innovation envelope, but according to Colleen Browne, general manager of ViewSonic Canada, it’s the reliance on the channel that has enabled the firm to attain success.

CDN recently sat down with Browne to discuss this among other topics.

CDN: When the channel talks about ViewSonic, they say the product is great, marketing is fantastic, but the fact that you are an OEM and not a developer of your own technology puts you behind the NECs of the world. How would you respond to that?

C.B.: I’ve never heard that. That is my first answer. My second answer is I think we are one of the leaders in displays.

We were one of the first in Canada to bring out the 2ms display. And, by the way, we were the first brand to launch an LCD TV with the 15-inch product. We just introduced the connectivity monitor with the iPod.

To me that is all innovation. We have an amazing R&D team out of California along with software development in-house that engineer the products.

We then take the channel’s suggestions for a display and take that to our partners in Asia to build.

To me that is a very effective business model. It is one that has worked very well for ViewSonic.

CDN: A few months ago you released a new channel program. What did you want to accomplish with that, especially in Canada?

C.B.: We got some feedback from resellers that we needed a refresh of the program and that was fair enough. It was out there for quite a while. So we took some great ideas and relaunched the program and called it ViewSonic Access. Coinciding with this we launched a reseller Web site called Partnerview. Both the program and Partnerview are designed to make ViewSonic an easier vendor to do business with. So all the information generally from new promotions, new product announcements, channel rebate forms, evaluation forms, discounts to channel partners can be found on this site. I think the relaunch of the program just reminds the market how channel-centric ViewSonic has been and continues to be.

CDN: Digital signage has become a burgeoning market for the channel. They can make some pretty decent margins here. What is ViewSonic’s strategy for this market?

C.B.: I agree. It is a burgeoning marketplace. We are playing more specifically in the accommodations markets – hotels. But there is a great deal of opportunity for us. We have large size LCD displays and large size plasma and we also bring a unique solution. It is ViewSonic’s NMP-500 Network Media Player and it turns any display into a digital signage display. It’s an IP-based media player with MPEG-1/2/4 video stream capability for digital signage applications. The Media Player replaces remote PCs. It’s small and lightweight, yet powerful enough for digital signage applications in hotels, restaurants, retail, stadiums, transportation, schools, financial institutions and manufacturing.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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