Samsung has started marketing what it calls its Business TV, or Pro TV. It’s a “prosumer” display – a TV with some commercial display features – bundled with a light CMS application that small business operators can control and manage off a smartphone.
The series features 4K HDR displays rated for 16/7 use, with the same kind of embedded system on chip smarts as Samsung commercial digital signage displays. As with other Samsung smart displays, it runs Samsung’s Linux-derived Tizen operating system.
Unlike a regular TV, these units ship with a three-year warranty. Regular TVs tend to have one-year warranties. Also different from regular TVs – features like tools that lock the display down to prevent tampering at a business.
The CMS is a light version of Samsung’s long-running MagicINFO software, but there is no desktop or browser client. Users do what they need off an app, and their are both Android and iOS versions. It supports zoned layouts so a regular TV tuner signal can run on part of the screen, with separate ad or information zones flanking the main signal.
The displays – from a 43-inch up to a 75 – come pre-loaded with templates that can be used to quickly post messaging. It says something about embedded motion, which I am guessing means it supports HTML5 templates that have simple motions (like sliding on a price or call to action).
The intention with this is to go squarely after the long tail small business market – stepping up from entry-level offers that involve clunky things like loading content on USB drives. You probably wouldn’t use this set-up across a large retail chain, but in normal times, there are approximately a million bazillion small business operators who could in theory make good use of one or a handful of screens around their salon, shop or strip mall office.
So why wouldn’t end-users use one of the many cloud CMS software options out there that cater to small businesses, and employ devices like Apple TVs and BrightSign boxes as players?
First, they’re busy (and right now, freaked out);
Second, it takes time and some degree of knowledge (and motivation) to research and determine an optimal solution;
Third, names that may be top of mind in the digital signage ecosystem are completely unknown in the SMB marketplace. Samsung, however, is a global top 10 brand. If end-user needs are simple and their time precious, a Samsung screen and software that seems to do what’s needed will, in theory, provide the quick, simple solution they crave.
The challenge is awareness and finding the best channels and methods to sell this. Samsung tried something similar way back in 2014, called Smart Signage TV. It didn’t really go anywhere, but it is reasonable to suggest that was too early. Digital signage was something that still needed to be explained six years ago, whereas screens are everywhere.
Certainly, end-users would be much more familiar now with the technology and value proposition.
The product timing is a little challenging, given that a pandemic is forcing many small businesses to close their doors for weeks and maybe (sure hope not) months. But the counter-argument would be how operators of shuttered businesses have a rare opportunity forced on them to think about how they operate, and what they can do to better inform and motivate their customers.
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.