This has been percolating for the better part of a year, but Atlanta-based store-design firm Miller Zell has made it public that they have hooked up 3M, NEC and Waterloo, ON-based DDC on a strategic one-stop shop, turnkey kind of thing.
3M does the software, through Mercury Online and the old FRED systems platform, NEC does screens, DDC (which has been in this game forever) does content and Miller Zell does retail-merchandising strategy and execution. Together, it’s a pretty compelling offer for retailers who are trying to choose a vendor. There will be a fair amount of basking in reflected glory going on with this collective pitch.
On the down side, there are more than a few clients who don’t buy into the strategic team thing and want, as they say, “one throat to choke” when things are going sideways. Somebody has to be the project lead, and that’s where it can get messy.
Congratulations to Stuart Kirkpatrick and Steve Harris at DDC for getting this done. They are genuine pioneers in this space, and I suspect the opportunities ahead far outweigh the challenges.
Look for more of these sorts of alliances.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.