Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Regular readers will know that every so often we like to remind folks we are a ‘blog’ – often in the true sense of the word and what better way than to simply report some gossip and hearsay and even do a who’s hot and who’s not in terms of digital signage software in Europe at the moment?

July saw us meet up with a couple of west coast US hardware folks who were over, testing the waters in the UK and together with them here’s what we heard and saw-with-our-own-eyes talking to a wide variety of VARs, system integrators and key influencers…

  • There’s little love out there for Scala. We have talked privately to clients about the ‘Scala VAR revolt’ before but seriously no VAR we spoke to (other than making mention of what a great guy Damon Crowhurst was) had anything nice or good to say about them. This will surely come to a head soon unless something is done about it and we are quite sure that other software vendors will be ‘making hay while the sun shines’ and knocking on doors.
  • ONELAN were one of two vendors that unprompted came up smelling somewhat of roses. ONELAN having retreated from the retail space at the same time as the very first Bob Clarke / Hughes Tesco stitch up are back and with a vengeance. We have to say that Hugh Coghill-Smith seems to have made a BIG difference since he came on board – something like 40% of ONELAN’s business is now overseas and people are talking about them outside their traditional educational sector. Cynics would say that with the recently announced UK government cutbacks they have no choice but to diversify out of education if owner David Dalzell wants to carry on buying a new Aston Martin every year but Hugh seems to have been well ahead of the game on this one.
  • It’s probably no surprise that signagelive were the other vendor that was talked about positively. We often tout owner Jason Cremins as someone who knows how to punch above his weight. Rumour is that signagelive have several major upcoming announcements for wins in Retail, Corporate Communications and Hospitality due to be announced shortly and like ONELAN announced back in 2008, will also have a full localised version of their product ready by the end of 2010 with full multi-lingual support including of course foreign character sets. Add in Jason’s love for iPhone, Android, dynamic Media RSS etc. and seemingly you have something that resellers drool over.
  • Perhaps the big surprise for us was CoolSign. We hear that JB&A (who signed a master reseller agreement with CoolSign back in May) are doing such a great job in the US that it’s allowing their management team to focus more on Europe. We heard from more than one VAR that CoolSign have got “a very refreshing approach to the market” – that will undoubtedly be the work of that ‘crazy’ man Lou then! CoolSign of course already have people on the ground covering Europe in the Netherlands and are signage solution of choice to our favourite digital signage agency Pixel Inspiration in the UK but it seems that they are making many people in Europe sit up and listen.

The UK, like all geographical markets, is over-crowded with digital signage software solutions. These are of course just a few but it’s interesting to us that just in general chit-chat these cropped up.

Either way it’s all useful data for #DSTop10 that we will start working on again in September.

3 Responses to “Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?”

  1. Jason Cremins Says:

    Thanks for the HOT vote and update on the #DSTop10. Onwards and upwards!

  2. I Cladius Says:

    Scala’s arrogance goes back to the days when they were one of the only players in the market and the ridiculous Fabian was at the helm. He allowed a culture of arrogance to prevail and it showed through all of the NL people. Essentially they ran a fifedom and did as they bloody well pleased. This ran through the ranks from Fabian to this channel manager Bodenstedt. Only the UK technical engineer Clive remained above the fray. When Fabian was asked to pursue his career elsewhere, CEO Bucas slowly inculcated a change of culture that made things better. Call them old school but a certain swaggering arrogance still prevails. Now that the market is awash with competition they must reposition again and this is evident in the new lower priced EMEA pricing they launched in June. The fact is the market caught up with Scala. They created DS and awareness of what was possible. Sadly they only sell on history and a slightly myopic vision of their true size. Hats off to Bucas and Elizaga for turning the business around. New vision is now needed and the arrogance must be curtailed. Too many competitors floating around to allow it.

  3. Jules Verne Says:

    Not a bad pocket size history by I Claudius. There is more to tell. Scala became not so hot with an inflexible VAR channel strategy and by complicating the simple. The arrogance was and still is breathtaking with a few rare exceptions. The first word in the Scala lexicon was and remains NO. They lost some great distributors through stupidity (LCS France) a fine example and many other VARS across EMEA. Some compare them to the British childrens series : Teletubbies where a lead role is called Lala. Watching a few clips of Lala is a mirror for Scala. Mind you Barry and Peter at Beaver have weathered the storm well with Scala and are a success story.

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