Everything’s Bigger In Texas…

Manolo Almagro, Weekly Columnist

“Texas-sized” … is an expression that we Americans use to describe something big, (or bigger than) when compared to other things of the same type. In this case, I’m using this term to describe the relative size of the digital signage network(s) that Reflect Systems – (A Dallas TX based company) has been cultivating and growing over the past 8 years.

Here’s a quick stat check: *note all numbers have been aggregated

  • Network Type(s): Retail, Various Brands
  • Number of Locations: 9300 and growing
  • Number of Screens: 120,000
  • Number of Viewers: 145 Million (monthly)

These numbers aren’t the only thing big about this company.

Their clients represent some of the biggest names in the retail business according to industry sources; including GameStop, Target, Borders Bookstore, Verizon Wireless and Best Buy to name a few.

Reflect Systems has built a robust solution – using some DNA that is rarely found in today’s digital signage platforms – it’s based on internet scaled technology (insider info: the core software engine started its life as a video webcasting platform), then they tightly integrated the distribution system with a heavy duty scheduling and proof of playback tool – all engineered from the ground up, by people who have proven experience building, and using enterprise class systems for digital retail networks.

The COO and President of Reflect is Steve Nesbit (who also has Texas-sized reputation in the business) – was nice enough to take time from his crazy busy schedule to meet with me, share some of his insights and answer a few questions of mine…

Manolo: What’s Reflect’s Business Model?

Steve: “We have 4 types of engagementsenterprise software sales –

  1. the client runs and hosts their own network,
  2. A SaaS model- with hosting services and support.
  3. Full-Service – where we operate and manage the network, includes content management
  4. Professional Services, where we consult with the client and provide deployment, strategy and installation support”

Manolo: What’s your outlook for 2009?

Steve: “The issues with economy will most likely cause our industry’s sales to flatten out for 2009. However – we’ve not seen much slowdown on our business, as some companies are starting to downsize, -we’re hiring. Currently we’re installing locations as an example -at a rate of 150 a week (for GameStop) as we are scheduled to have the entire network fully deployed by May 2009″ We are continuing to see some new business opportunities from client that view in-store digital media as a strategic initiative for their brand- regardless of the current finanical conditions. The slowing economy has opened the door for more joint-funding discussions between retailers, content providers and advertising entities.”

Manolo: What’s in the future for Reflect Systems?

Steve: “We’ve been working with our clients to address their needs for more analytics and measurment features. We are taking the stance to be “agnostic” with our approach – meaning we’ll support all methods not just OVAB’s guidelines. Reflect has also taken an approach to include the traditional media measurement requirements in addition to the new media analytics. We are also focusing on building out our infrastructure capability to support more real-time measurement systems (face recognition, motion tracking, and POS integration)

So fundamentally my take is that Reflect Systems is a software company, with a good solid product and a great client roster (it also doesn’t hurt that they’ve been appointed to Microsoft’s Retail & Hospitality Advisory Board)-but I also attribute its current and future success to the fact that they have proven that they know what it takes to operate and grow retail networks, which speaks volumes for their credibility as one of the leading companies in our industry.

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