3M Officially Bails On Digital Signage Business

May 6, 2014 by Dave Haynes

3mupsieThere was a time when 3M was the genuine deal in the the digital signage software business, but it has been a few years since the company and its product have  made any real noise.

The last muffled sounds came Monday as the manufacturing giant announced it had sold off “certain assets in connection with 3M’s digital signage business including hardware, software, and access to customer relationships.” The buyer, from an undisclosed sum, is LSI Industries Inc., a NASDAQ traded company with a graphics division that has for many years been a 3M reseller.

Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, LSI describes itself as “a vertically integrated manufacturer who combines assimilated technology, design and manufacturing to produce the most efficient, high quality products possible. We are dedicated to advancing solid-state technology to make affordable, high performance, energy efficient lighting and custom graphic products that bring value to our customers. In addition, we can provide sophisticated lighting and energy management control solutions to help customers manage their energy performance. Further, we offer design support, engineering, installation and project management for custom graphics rollout programs for today’s retail environment.”

“This acquisition will add significant depth to our capabilities as we supply our customers with total digital signage solutions from project concept through content development, deployment, assessment and system monitoring,” says David McCauley, President, LSI Graphics Segment. “We look forward to expanding into new market segments, serving national and international brands, and responding to the ever-changing needs of our customers. This acquisition, while not material from a current sales and earnings standpoint, affords us economies of scale, lowers our cost structure, and is expected to improve profit margins through software ownership. We are excited about the opportunities that this acquisition provides.”

lsi-logo-stacked-tag3M Commercial Graphics Division and LSI Industries have had a long and productive relationship across several 3M product lines, from large format graphics to digital signage. That, in addition to LSI’s seven years of experience using the 3M Digital Signage Software – Network Edition platform, made LSI a great fit for this business. We understand how important these systems are to customers’ operations, and are pleased that LSI has also agreed to provide support for these existing digital signage software customers,” adds Robert Doughty, Vice President, 3M Commercial Graphics Division.

Scott D. Ready, President of LSI Industries Inc., says the acquisition “is consistent with LSI Industries’ objective of investing and promoting technology within both its graphics and lighting businesses.”

I’m really not sure if this impacts the work 3M does with its Vikuiti rear projection film, which has been around for years and is really the one way in which you do see 3M product out in the digital signage eco-system. It has seemingly been many years since 3M has really been competitive on the software side. There are always exceptions, but this looks very much like another case of a giant company getting involved in something that was never going to be more than a sideline business.

LSI is also a pretty substantial company, so we’ll see how they do selling a PC and Windows-driven product that will look awfully old school in a world of web and cloud services and $35 ARM processors.

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