Spectrio Acquires Food Services-Focused Ping HD; Adds 35,000+ Screens To Footprint

May 27, 2022 by Dave Haynes

Tampa-area digital signage software and solutions provider Spectrio has completed another acquisition, this time picking up the food services-focused digital signage CMS firm Ping HD, which operates out of Denver.

Ping does a lot of its trade in sports and entertainment venues, primarily at food and beverage concessions. The deal adds some 35,000 screens to Spectrio’s installed base, and brings the global tally past 160,000.  

The deal is the first in 2022 for Spectrio, which is backed by a large private equity firm and has a strategy of growing both organically and via M&A “roll-up” activity. The company has in recent years acquired the software and services firms Screenscape, Enplug, Industry Weapon, Automobile Broadcasting Network, Codigo and 10 Foot Wave. It also acquired Sixteen:Nine last year, with me sticking around as the Editor.

You might assume given my relationship to Spectrio that I knew all about this, and you would be wrong. While I have been asked for my opinion about some companies in the ecosystem, I am not actively  involved in M&A work. I saw the news this morning.

For a company growing its offer, picking up Ping HD would seem to make sense. While major QSR operators are well established with digital menus, there are still lots of regional and local operators who have not cut over from analog. Ping also seems, at least, to have a dominant position in sports arenas and stadiums, of which there are many. Digital is particularly relevant in these kinds of environments because everything from what’s on offer to branding can change from event to event. Switching out analog signs is a chore, while it is a few key strokes and mouse clicks with digital.

Concessions are also evolving and need digital because of new services like order-ahead by app, which ideally uses screens to locate pick-up counters and notify fans when their tray of whatever is ready.

Another interesting aspect is the IP acquired in this – as Ping HD has integrations with a pile of retail/food services Point Of Sale systems: Aloha, Appetize, Bypass Mobile, Campus Dish (Aramark), CBORD, Clover, NCR Quest, Par Brink, Oracle Simphony 1, Oracle Simphony 2, Oracle 9700 (Micros), Quickserve, Sola, Volante, Square, Omnivore, and QU beyond. Those are technical speed-bumps cleared in the vendor sourcing and customer-pitching processes.

“For years, Ping HD has been a leader in creating and deploying exciting and engaging content for stadiums, arenas, and businesses throughout the country,” says Jimmy Hunt, SVP Channel Sales and Business Development at Spectrio. “We are thrilled to partner with the Ping HD team as we continue to expand Spectrio’s extensive digital signage footprint and connect our products and services with new users.”

The announcement adds:

Ping HD clients utilize its proprietary cloud-based content management system to build, manage, and deploy digital signage content from anywhere. With a simple drag and drop designer, plus powerful features like integrated apps, event management, widgets, playlists, point of sale connectivity, and more, the Ping HD content manager makes it easy for clients to create an engaging experience for their customers and visitors.

“Here at Ping HD, we’ve always been committed to delivering best-in-class digital signage technology and we’re excited to join with the Spectrio team to bring even more value to our client relationships,” says Stephen Young, owner of Ping HD. “This partnership gives our clients access to a wide range of new services, as well as a cohort of award-winning content creators to help bring their brand to life in new and unique ways.” 

No deal terms were announced, which is pretty much the norm these days. In a podcast I did recently with Spectrio’s Hunt, he said that while growing the installed base was one driver behind deals, another was, and is, acquiring talent and subject matter experience and expertise.

There are a few companies in the digital signage ecosystem growing in part through M&A activity – with Spectrio probably the most active. Creative Realities, Uniguest and Raydiant have also been active, and the big dog in the business – STRATACACHE – is always sniffing around, in North America and globally. It has full-time M&A people. Its largest acquisition was Scala.

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