Samsung has just announced a new variant on its Smart Signage program – this one seemingly aimed squarely at the SMB space and built around its own MagicInfo software, and not that of any partners.
Under the rather overstated headline “Samsung Revolutionizes Digital Signage with Introduction of Samsung Smart Signage TV for Small Shop and Business Owners” the company has announced an SMB-oriented program that looks and smells pretty much like the one touted in North America and Europe since Jan. 2013, the exceptions being this seems to bridge TVs and commercial panels (there’s a TV tuner) and the company’s MagicInfo software is front and center.
Samsung Smart Signs had previously been sold in a range of commercial panels with embedded processors, and none of them had TV tuners. This is overtly called TV, by comparison, and live TV is part of the pitch.
The North American program, which I know best, has been about software partnerships with the likes of SignageLive and Capital Networks, though the MagicInfo pitch has always been lurking or just plain out there. On the product page for this, it’s JUST MagicInfo.
Samsung Smart Signage TV, says the news release, offers small shop owners enhanced dependability and commercial-grade operation. The business solution is designed for longer continuous operation, enabling businesses to display their promotional materials up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week – all while delivering an optimal viewing experience. All components are backed by a three-year warranty guaranteed for in-store use.*
From installation to promotion, Samsung Smart Signage TV is an easy-to-setup business solution that includes everything store owners need for their business so they can quickly create, schedule and display business content. The all-in-one-box solution includes a LED TV with an embedded TV tuner and stand, easy-to-use content management software, full high-definition (FHD) capability with TV tuner, embedded WiFi, a TV remote control, and VESA-compatible mounting accessories.
The all-in-one TV and embedded media player reduces costs for businesses, by eliminating the need for an additional audio and video device for storing or playing business content. Using the advanced content creation and management software, content can be delivered to the embedded media player easily and conveniently via a USB or wirelessly from a WiFi-enabled mobile device. The TV also can be transformed into a powerful business tool by creating and displaying professional-looking content using more than 200 pre-built design templates and sample imagery.
This is Samsung, as I understand it, going after the small to medium business space directly – using low-cost panels, low cost or free software with content tools and templates, and from what I am hearing, a financing package. So you may be able to just buy all this from Samsung, with no one in the middle. Servicing the local dry cleaner and hair salon will be a capital B Bitch, so have fun!
I am also hearing the company has designs on the hyperlocal ad market and monetizing screens, which if you read this space has been disastrous for just about any company that takes a crack at it (save Amscreen and arguably some gas pump guys).
What I do like here is Samsung not even pretending to have software partners and selling this as a MagicInfo solution. As I said earlier, when I am around Samsung the MagicInfo pitch finds its way into events that are supposed to be about and even subsidized by software guys, which can set teeth grinding furiously. At least with this, MagicInfo has to stand on its own merits and users can make up their own minds as to how good it is. From what I have seen in demos, there’s a fair amount there – and probably more than enough for that local dry cleaner.
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.