Last year (2010) we released the Top Ten Digital Signage Vendors list to coincide with the start of the digital signage and digital out of home industry’s largest annual trade show: Digital Signage Expo, #dse2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada and we will probably do the same this year at #dse2011 (current thought is “why not display the list of winners on the screens at the DSE Industry Mixer?”)
This year we thought we’d quickly re-visit each of the top 10 and give you our view of how they’ve done (the number at the front indicates their 2010 position and the number in parentheses indicates their position the year before that) …
1 – EnQii (1)
Stuart Armstrong really is their core strength and heading up their US operations they seem to at least be doing very well there. Quiet in Europe and even quieter in APAC. The challenge is that EnQii’s direct sales model does not work well in Europe and APAC – you need country managers to drive local sales and they (still) haven’t done that. They (also) haven’t spent any of their VC money yet but are seemingly on the M&A trail – whilst they must have looked at dozens of software vendors and service providers none have suited. Expect them to look in the M&A space purely at ‘complementary offerings’ in 2011.
2 – STRATACACHE (2)
Another company that hasn’t spent a dime of their Technology Acquisition fund (some money of course will have been spent setting up EnVu but we don’t think that counts). Their one man in Europe hasn’t done much either though they might well end up winning H&M in Sweden. Some nice deals in the US, most of which they can’t or won’t talk about but the McDonald’s Cafe business is theirs (with NEC screens) and is probably one of the largest US digital signage rollouts of recent times (certainly in the last three years).
3 – BroadSign (3)
These guys continually frustrate folks like us who figure that with their bizarre shareholding and alleged money problems they won’t last another month but they do and continue to pick up new business to boot. They are great supporters of conferences and events and act globally. We have always been fans of their software and our recent look at BroadSign 8 shows us that they are continuing to innovate. They are doing surprisingly well.
4 – Scala (5)
We believe that Scala in Europe had its best year ever in 2010 and wIth Tom Nix leading the charge surely we can expect great things from the rest of the business as well. We haven’t seen much, if anything of the SignChannel acquisition mind so there is still lots for them to do but we do believe that they have started once again to innovate. We look forward to much more positive from Scala in 2011.
5 – Omnivex (new entrant)
Been relatively quiet apart from a few press releases but good to see them at shows and no doubt we will have a longer chat with them on their booth at #ISEUROPE
=6 – SignageLive (6)
Continues to punch above its own weight and have done particularly well in getting a strong foothold in the US marketplace Won a lot of nice deals in Europe in 2010 as well and as usual a company that, as their resellers will testify to, is good to work with. They are still small compared to many other companies and will need to think carefully about how best to grow.
=6 – WireSpring (8)
Their strength in the kiosk marketplace in Europe continues to amaze us. We believe that WireSpring in 2010 grew their channel to about 50 domestic and 30 international resellers, including their first-ever resellers in Africa and Asia, mostly on the strength of EasyStart we suspect and their new, channel-only EasyStart Pro product lines. All the while they continue to be profitable (yes that word ‘profitable’).
8 – CoolSign (new entrant)
Two owners in 2010 or just one? We can’t exactly remember but they were bought of course late in the year by (little known company) Haivision. Haivision remind us a little of early days Cisco (and in fact they are surely a typical type of company that Cisco would acquire). At this moment in time we fear mightily for CoolSign as they are seemingly slowly consumed by a corporate. Their new guy in Europe is going to have to hit the ground running to give them any chance. Expect an announcement of a potentially big partnership next week.
9 – C-nario (4)
2010 saw a new CEO whom we still haven’t met despite trying very hard. Like to keep their wins to themselves (which is pure madness) but at least they get out and do shows. Also they remain pretty ‘global with wins (though not necessarily people) on many continents. Intel like ’em a lot which counts for something.
10 – Dynamax (10)
They had their one chance to go global with their venture in the US a few years ago and despite the deep, deep pockets of their owner we think there is no way back for these guys. Gambling big on profitability by reducing head count to a bare minimum (Howard Smith is now the only senior exec there) and turning to a SAAS solution these folks look mightily doomed to us. Once big specifically in digital billboards with an enviable who’s who of outdoor contractors (they literally had the world at their feet) it’s a real shame what’s been allowed to happen to them.