Are There Really 300 Digital Signage Software Options?

March 28, 2014 by Dave Haynes

Demand and Supplyopposition. Concept 3D illustration.

For the last few months I have, in free moments, been trying to build a list that identifies and categorizes the digital signage eco-system.

It’s a big job and I even subbed out some of the work to someone in Croatia to spend a many hours searching, decoding and validating companies.

So far, I have 429 companies and organizations listed and filtered – specifically excluding end-users. These are companies that sell something – from software to advice (like me). It will take a long time to build up a good list of systems integrators and value added resellers resellers who genuinely sell stuff (as opposed to having it in a roster but barely knowing what it’s all about). That will inflate the number QUITE a bit.

But having hacked away at this for weeks, I am starting to conclude that this idea that there are 300-350 companies selling digital signage software solutions is suspect. I’m thinking half of that.

I have looked over the pure-play guys, who have software options, and that’s at about 100. Let’s assume I missed 20 because they’re in India or Kazakhstan and I don’t know about them and can’t read their websites. Then I have maybe 25 more manufacturer CMS software solutions that range from simpleton to reasonably good, like what the big display guys spent real money on. Assume I am missing some of those, still.

That gets me to around 150.

Yes, there are interactive agencies with sideline projects that get stuff on screens and the two-guys-in-a-Starbucks-who-built-something kinds of options out there, as well. Count them if you want, but they’re not really seriously engaged in this business and aren’t going to have base-salaried sales people who get up in the morning thinking about selling those products.

There’s also a bunch of companies that are thought or assumed to be active that, when you try to bang around their websites, get dead pages or stuff that hasn’t been updated in years.

So … I think 150 or so is a more realistic number. Which, by the way, is insane. Supply waaaaaaaaay outstrips demand.

Two disturbing things:

1 – More companies keep popping up, somehow seeing gold and failing to first do some competitive research;

2 – Most of the new guys, and a mind-wobbling number of the existing ones, have a go-to-market with the big value proposition that their product is affordable and easy to use. There must be 50 of those.

To make a go of it, any software firm at this point needs to clearly and quickly define what’s different and compelling about what they have or the market they serve and deeply understand. Affordable and easy are commodity words.

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