Avnet launches digital signage services for VARs

Avnet Technology Solutions (NYSE: AVT) has created a package of offerings to help its partners take on the growing digital signage opportunity worldwide.

Along with the Avnet Electronics Marketing business, the Phoenix-based company introduced its Brilliant Digital Signage Suite of Services earlier this month.

“We feel that digital signage is a market that’s exploding very quickly, throughout the globe,” said Larry Fulop, vice-president and general manager of supplier sales acceleration for Avnet Technology Solutions in the Americas.

Avnet’s services are built for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and value-added resellers (VARs) to offer end-to-end digital signage solutions. The program is set up in a similar way to Avnet’s SolutionsPath program, aimed at teaching VARs about new markets.

“We’ve been in the hardware business for a long time,” Fulop said. “Our VARs have been coming to us and asking us, ‘what kind of other services can we provide?’ More and more of them are finding opportunities in this space. They’re following the opportunity outside of the data centre.”

The offering includes hardware and software from Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC), Microsoft Corp., NEC Display Solutions, Samsung and Popstar Networks Inc.The products included range from touchscreen displays to accompanying operating systems and servers.

Related story: Intel helping partners build digital signage, surveillance practices

It also includes site survey and installation services, where Avnet’s team will assess aspects of the display such as power, cabling and connectivity. “I would say most of the margin is coming from the content management and the services,” Fulop said.

The company can also provide refurbishing, recycling and disposal of the technology once it reaches end of life in compliance with government laws. Avnet has six integration centres where it can create custom software and back-end hardware solutions. The company will also offer its software-as-a-service content management service.

It can also offer financing options for large-scale deployments. That could include leasing equipment or a “pay now” program where Avnet provides money up front for a VAR for deploying services and collects payment directly from the end-user.

Intel estimates that there will be 22 million digital signs globally by 2015. ABI Research suggests that the global market for digital signage will grow to US$4.5 billion by 2016.

“I would say for us personally, we’re definitely seeing the most opportunity today around the retail sector,” he said, which includes quick-service restaurants and hospitality businesses as well. “That market has adopted the digital signage and has seen the ROI and the advantages of a more intelligent display.”

Distributor Ingram Micro Inc. (NYSE: IM) also has a digital signage division, and Tech Data Corp. (NASDAQ:TECD) added NEC’s digital signage offerings to its portfolio last month.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Harmeet Singh
Harmeet Singh
Harmeet reports on channel partner programs, new technologies and products and other issues relevant to Canada's channel community. She also contributes as a video journalist, providing content for the site's original streaming video. Harmeet is a graduate of the Carleton University School of Journalism.

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