The odd digital signage couple

August 24, 2006 by Dave Haynes

Now here’s a partnership I didn’t see coming … and I doubt many others did, either.

AKA reports that LED big board manufacturer Daktronics has set up a joint company with VST Media, which does the screens on the top of gas pumps thing. Big honking screen company meets little LCD guys.

Says AKA:

VST International is partnering with Daktronics, a major supplier of LED-based electronic signs, to extend both companies’ reach into fuel-pump digital signage.

The pair are forming a new company, FuelCast Media International, which will grow Daktronics’ presence in the digital-signage market while providing smaller VST, already a specialist in gas-station networks, with resources to enable it to continue product development.

FuelCast will provide turnkey solutions including pump-top displays, installation, network management, and advertising sales. It will offer Daktronics’ ProCast LCD technology, which may solve some of the ambient-light problems that have faced this particular application of digital signage.

I wasn’t even aware Daktronics did LCDs, but a quick zip around the company site indicates they have screens starting at 26 inches and a high-bright 1,200 nit 46 incher that must cost as much as Lindsay Lohan’s weekend bar tab.

The piece doesn’t indicate what software is being used going forward, with Scala being in VST’s boxes until now.

It’s likely a good move for VST, which has gained a lot of traction on the site acquisition side of the business but has undoubtedly being struggling on the cash side, because of the high capital costs of putting screens in and the so-so response from the advertising community in Canada, where more than 1,100 screens are running.

It’s a good move for Daktronics as it gives some people a reason to escape from South Dakota to Vancouver or LA during the winter.

The jury is still out, I think, on whether the screens at gas pumps thing is a viable business, but continuing best wishes to Jim Maynard and the guys behind it.  

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