Crap Research: You Probably Didn’t Know NEC, Advantech Are Market Leaders In Signage Software (Spoiler: They’re Not)

I have seen tweets, Linkedin posts and even news coverage from people who need to invest a little more time thinking (than they do copying and pasting) about a report out in the last few days about top-rated digital signage software platforms.

Some rated companies are even congratulating themselves on being selected, etc etc.

But the report is from a company that is in the business of reports, in the same way that all those Indian companies are in the business of generating very expensive research reports on any industry that seems to do business. One look at even the summaries of these research reports should tell anyone who bothers to think that the researchers have only the most fleeting grasp of what they’re analyzing.

The Featured Customers’ 2018 Spring Customer Success Report on Digital Signage Software lists Market Leaders, Top Performers and Rising Stars, based on its elaborate criteria that has almost nothing to do with actual business of digital signage. Instead, rankings are based on how much content the company puts out (like case studies), social media activity, and things like SEO and web traffic.


As an example of just how solid these rankings are, here are the Top 3 Market Leaders:

  1. Scala
  2. NEC
  3. Advantech

Scala can certainly be touted as a top software company, but NEC is a display manufacturer (yes, they’re into all kinds of things, but they’re fundamentally display guys). Advantech makes industrial computers.

Among the Top Performers is Peerless-AV, which predominantly is in the display mounts and enclosure business. Great company and people, but ask Nick Belcore about his top-performing signage software and he’ll look at you kinda funny.

The same company that cooked up this report also issued reports this week on exotic stuff like Contract Lifecycle Management Software and Corporate Travel Management Software. So clearly, they’e taking the approach of the Indian guys and using their toolset to rank anything that says software.

If your company wants to highlight being listed in this thing, fill your boots. But you’re going to look a little shameless. On the plus side, this site is way more polished and useful than this mess.

I do consulting and help end-users find the right software, so I have a vested interest in declaring this stuff to be close to useless. But you don’t have to use a consultant to do better than this.

Here are the things you can start with:

  • Figure out what you want to do, and what content will look like (how much? type? dynamic or not? and so on)
  • Figure out whether you want to host it or go SaaS.
  • Figure out a budget.
  • Sort out if you have to be Windows or have to be anything but Windows, and so on.
  • Start looking for companies that know your vertical business, and if they have have a technical handshake with the other systems and software you use every day.
  • Whittle down the list to companies in your part of the world. Yes, support can come from 12 time zones away, but …
  • Get some demos, and take advantage of free evaluation licenses?
  • Read stuff (there’s lots of good advice out there) and ask other people what they used and how that went.
  • Be very suspicious of review sites and posts, of all kinds. Top rankings are rarely, sadly, based on knowledge and insight and more often on wild-assed guesses or business/advertising ties (yeah, that happens).
Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 12 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.
Dave Haynes


13-year-old blog & podcast about digital signage & related tech, written by consultant, analyst & BS filter Dave Haynes. DNA test - 90% Celt/10% Viking. 😏😜🍺
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