The company, formerly known as POPSCREENS, is now Scala China – positioned as a solution for interactive retail displays.
The deal gets CEO Chris Riegel a 250,000 square foot manufacturing facility, and more than 125 new employees. It also means STRATACACHE now has support and logistics in China, as well as a new China-based Network Operations Center.
“We have demonstrated significant focus on growth in the important Asia-Pacific market, investing more than $100 million in the region in the past 24 months, including the acquisition of Scala,” says Riegel. “We are enjoying tremendous growth in the region with strong new leadership, a greatly expanded services team and a strategic focus on the markets in China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. The Asia-Pacific region has added more than 2 billion consumers to the middle class in the past decade and we’re helping leading retailers, brands and marketers develop these new consumer relationships. Scala China is another step along that journey and, with the recent progress on US-China trade relations, now was the right time to move forward on this opportunity.”
Says a press release:
Scala China will continue to produce advanced embedded computing devices, ranging from 7” to 98”. “The devices are ideal for 24×7 commercial use in interactive consumer engagement environments such as retail stores, gaming, hospitality and banking,” says Patrick Saletta, Chief Operating Officer. “With over 8,000 existing Scala customers worldwide, we will help expand opportunities in many strategic markets and client partnerships.”
“Our all-in-one platforms are enhanced with additional technology for mobile sensors, such as STRATACACHE’s own Walkbase sensors, and computer vision that exists in the STRATACACHE family today,” says Li Fan, General Manager of Scala China. “Adding embedded computing devices to STRATACACHE’s robust suite of marketing technology for kiosk, point-of-sale and commercial tablet computing devices significantly enhances the full solution offering for the client.”
Interesting move. People who know Riegel and have heard him rip into the whole smart digital signage display ecosystem will be amused/confused by his company seemingly getting into just that.
But Riegel, who is overseas, told me via email the Scala China product involves all-in-one displays, but they’re not embedded system on chip units.
Unlike the majority of smart displays, the Popscreen screens have player modules that can be popped out, upgraded or swapped. So more like OPS screens with slot-loaded players, or NEC’s Raspberry Pi-enabled screens.
The Scala China screens run on Android or a couple of other common Linux variants, Ubuntu and Debian.
Riegel says he has known the company for years and sees an opportunity for the product with tablet and shelf-edge displays, and elsewhere around retail. Built-in smarts means he can tie in Walkbase, the Finnish retail analytics company that was an earlier STRATACACHE acquisition.
He also, via the acquisition, takes on about 1,200 clients, mostly Asia Pacific. And now he’s got a working operation inside China, which is one way to deal with tariffs.
Big deal. More and more digital signage companies have things like China offices or small production facilities, but not many have substantial Chinese operations. GDS has, for example, 100,000 sq. ft of production near Shanghai, and 200 people.
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.