We spent an hour with Guy Shavitt, YCD’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) earlier this month at Screen Expo Europe – he is an everyday Apple Powerbook user so goes up in our estimation right away!!!
YCD are at number 5 in our list simply down to the fact that they have a fabulous music offering. Our research and presentations has highlighted the importance of being able to offer music to screen networks and it’s not simply the ability to play out a string of MP3 files!!! YCD’s music offering is we believe, the best on the market. Where YCD is let down, is again, in not having a strong employee presence in Europe and a reliance on Israel as a market for reference customers. Whilst YCD have Imagesound as a customer, they only have about 10% of their installed base using their system. YCD need a couple of bigger network partners in Europe – not simply the signing up AV installation partners. YCD are ambitious and aggressive with big plans and are very worthwhile keeping an eye on.
Guy told us that they are planning a big push in the UK. They already have an employee on the ground in Glasgow (yes, we asked why but didn’t get a sensible answer) and are looking to recruit a 4 or 5 person office in London shortly also.
Their focus, as it should be with their music capability is Retail and QSR – with Imagesound as a customer / reseller (we still not quote sure of that exact relationship) then Captive Audience in terms of Leisure: Pubs, Clubs and Bars and Hotel and Hospitality is also a major outlet for their wares.
YCD’s products are called RadioPoint and MuVi. We liked what we saw. We have been around music offerings for some time now (and have designed a few ourselves) so think we know what we are looking for. As we have said to nearly all the other digital signage software vendors at some point in the last 12 months – “just because you can play MP3’s, doesn’t mean you can play music properly”
YCD’s offering is probably the best music system out there at the moment. Their R&D folks make a big point that it’s all J2E, IBM Websphere and that they are a big IBM Business Partner – that will give confidence to some big corporates, but it could be written in COBOL for all we care 😉
As we have said before, where YCD really need to focus is getting good employees on the ground to cover Europe (not just the UK) and get some great reference sites other than those of Imagesound.
For any ostensible R&D outfit it is now or never!