Mixer Sponsor Profiles: NEC Display Solutions

February 14, 2013 by Dave Haynes


Next up in our profiles of Preset Group DSE 2013 Mixer Sponsors is NEC Display Solutions, the professional display and projection system giant from Japan, via suburban Chicago. President and CEO Pierre Richer was kind enough to A – throw some money at me to help with 2013 mixer costs, and B – field my five probing, deeply personal questions.

Pierre Richer 2 Sepia_RGB_72Q: I get a sense from a lot of people that 2012 was hopping and 2013 is looking even better. How is NEC seeing it?

A – It’s a little early to tell for a couple of reasons. The first one is the seasonality of our core hardware business. Regardless of the application, whether it be signage, corporate or education, Q1 is always a soft quarter. It looks promising from a year over year perspective, but we are still in a wait-and-see approach. The second reason, at least for NEC Display, is that 2012 was a great year so we want to be cautiously optimistic. I have concerns the new income tax laws in the US will affect consumer spending and slow down retail. This could lead to a domino effect for both the economy and possibly cause the retail sector to hold back their investments for upgrading their infrastructure.

Q: QSR was hot in 2012. Is another hot vertical starting to emerge?

A – It’s difficult to answer that question without telling our competitors where NEC is focusing its efforts. We pride ourselves on knowing the market and focusing on key areas. We think of it as a compliment when our competitors follow our lead, which happens more often than not. We look at all aspects of this industry, not just the hardware, we include players, content, emerging technologies and then decide to go after a segment which we feel will get us the best ROI. Just keep track of where NEC is going and you’ll probably see the hot verticals.

Q: What will NEC be showing this year at DSE that people should make a point of seeing?

A – NEC will be at Booth #1302. Come by and see, among many things:

Q: NEC has been a big promoter of the Open Pluggable spec. I am curious how NEC regards other display makers that are promoting what are effectively commercial-grade smart TVs, and will you follow?

A – First of all, this goes back to my answer on your second question. NEC was the first one to adopt the OPS standards with Intel and now various manufacturers are following us. As it relates to commercial–grade smart TV’s, there are also occurrences when jumping in early is not the best business decision. I believe all of the home and consumer functionality built into those units will bring no value to the corporate space. Most companies have very strict rules and don’t even allow employees to stream music or anything that uses bandwidth, so the idea of using YouTube or NetFlix or any other offering like these is probably pretty remote. From a signage perspective, using a browser based player can be attractive and many CMS companies have a plan to move to that technology. We’ll see how quickly the migration will happen and adjust accordingly if we have too.

Q: Can you provide an update on Vukunet?

A – VUKUNET has made much progress on the both technology side as well as adoption from the market. The technology continues to evolve making it very easy for networks to implement. All the networks need to do is insert the VUKUNET Digital Ad Container (DAC) into their playlist where they want ads to play. The DAC has the network intelligence built-in to allow agencies to search inventory real-time, book, flight ads directly to the screen and generate POP real-time. VUKUNET Demand-side platform (DSP) makes it easy to buy and report since all networks are using one common currency that ensures standardization across the campaign. We are working with top media agencies on both the OOH and Digital sides to utilize the platform. Agencies are extremely positive about how this platform can modernize this industry by streamlining processes and eliminating the complexity of buying and reporting digital out-of-home and digital place-based media.

Good smart people and a great supporter of this industry. NEC will have a pile of people at the mixer, including (I hope) Pierre. He’s Canadian, so party and cocktails are kind of magnetic to our kind. If you are going, make a point of thanking them for the help with the mixer.


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