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Digital signage goes interactive

Samsung Electronics Canada launches four new large format displays with built-in speakers and touchscreen capability

Samsung Electronics Canada has launching four new models of large format display (LFD) monitors the vendor says will open up new opportunities and new applications for solution providers in the burgeoning digital signage market.

The new Samsung SyncMaster displays come in sizes of 40”, 46”, 70” and 82” respectively, and Ron Hulse, vice-president, IT marketing with Samsung Electronics Canada, boasts they’re the first LFDs to offer both integrated high-quality speakers and touchscreen capability.

“There’s been a really strong demand building for getting that touch capability in a large format screen, but there’s been no manufacturer bringing such products out,” said Hulse. To get touch in an LFD before, a partner would have to go to a third-party that would remove the screen and add the touchscreen capability, which would take time and would also raise warranty issues.

“We’ve eliminated all that by building it ourselves, and it makes what was a relatively complicated implementation much easier for the partner.”

By bringing touch to the already burgeoning digital signage market, Hulse said partners are able to offer a whole new generation of digital signage capabilities to their clients, potentially opening new markets as well.

“You’re now starting to see the potential of these things,” said Hulse. “Before, digital signage was simply the replacement of a flat image. Then it moved to video or streaming media. Now, instead of just relaying information, it’s becoming much more of a two-way interactive experience.”

As an example, Hulse said some Volvo dealerships are now installing LFDs at their dealerships. A potential customer can build their dream car via the touchscreen display, choosing colours, interior, wheels and other options, and be able to see the resulting vehicle on the display from any angle or perspective they wish. Another potential use is in the education sector, with something like Google Maps or Google Earth, where a map of the world could be drilled down with a touch of the finger. Museums and science centres are also possible venues.

“I’ve seen these demonstrations, and it’s much more impressive on a large display where you can truly grasp the size and complexity of the image,” said Hulse.

In addition to touchscreen capability, the new Samsung offerings also include built-in speakers, eliminating the necessity of adding external speakers, which complicates and lengthens the instillation.

“They’re very powerful 10-watt speakers that provide fairly high-quality sound to these high-definition images,” said Hulse.

Also new in this generation of LFDs is four-way anti-burn protection to prevent image burning, constantly refreshing and flickering to ensure performance doesn’t degrade.

For partners in the digital signage space, Hulse notes Samsung’s Power Partner Program pays partners rebates and cumulative soft dollars for selling product. Also, with digital signage as each implementation is customized, Samsung Canada has a dedicated LFD signage team that works directly with the partner ecosystem.

“It takes a broader network of people to do this sort of work, but it has a higher profit yield too because of the higher technical requirements of these products,” said Hulse.