DSE Mixer Sponsor Profiles: Creative Realities Using DSE To Update Ecosystem On Its Expanded Offering

October 28, 2022 by Dave Haynes

The big Sixteen:Nine networking mixer at DSE is back, and is now less than three weeks out. It’s sold out, meaning we expect to have 350+ Digital Signage Experience attendees showing up for drinks, nibblies and lots of conversations and introductions.

The event happens because of the terrific support of sponsors who help cover the costs of the venue, drinks, food buffet, AV and on and on – and one of the ways to recognize that help is by profiling each of the sponsors ahead of the Nov. 16th event in Las Vegas.

SignageOS was profiled earlier this week, and next up – 2 of 8 – is Creative Realities. The company is sometimes also referred to as CRI, but the full name is how they’re going to market these days. I did a Q&A with CEO Rick Mills, who is also one of the panelists who will be talking about M&A in digital signage for a special event that runs at the same venue the hour before the mixer.

Q: Can you summarize what Creative Realities does and the main markets it serves?

We’re a digital signage and software solutions company with an end-to-end offering that’s turnkey and built for rapid scaling. That means we have full capabilities and experience from design thinking and content creation, all the way through to NOC support and Day 2 support and service.

We have three CMS solutions: one specifically for QSR/C-store; one that’s purpose-built for Retail; and a third is an ad-serving platform that currently serves over a billion ads per month.

Our key markets [verticals] include QSR, Retail, Convenience, Sports and Entertainment, Healthcare and Automotive.  We’re also a great fit for enterprise level media / network operators who are looking to monetize their digital assets with ad revenue – as we can do this with our Adlogic software product and interface with programmatic SSP/DSP like PlaceExchange. We’re serving a billion ad impressions, so this is an extremely potent part of our ability to service the DOOH with place-based, on-premise advertising.

Q: You have a meeting space on the exhibit hall floor. Why should attendees book a meeting?

We’re excited to talk with our partners and end-users to update them on our expanded offering and how our platforms and credentials can be tapped to help them bring scalable solutions to bear.

Q: You acquired Reflect, adding on to some earlier acquisitions. How has that company been integrated and what does it add to the overall Creative Realities offer?

We were deliberate in this acquisition, as it was nearly perfect alignment to bring highly complementary offerings together – Reflect for their software ingenuity – and Creative Realities for our installation, support and experience in similar clients and verticals

Our cultural similarities have benefitted from the integration efforts, and we’re laser-focused on what we know will resonate with the marketplace – and how it lines up to our own growth goals of end-points under our care and management.

We’ve added: AdRev/Monetization software, media buying services, the creation of Family Entertainment Network which offers advertisers a compelling way to be hyper-targeted and address families with kids. We’ve broken new ground in full-site solutions for QSR with a drive through offering, and we’ve expanded our content abilities.

Q: What key trends are you seeing in the marketplace?  

Personalization, new uses of AI, more creative form factors, better software integrations that allow for data-driven decision making. Monetization has been on the upward trend as enterprises demand greater ROI to offset CAPEX and amortize the investment of digital assets.

Some aspects of retail have had a rough ride, between online competition, pandemic lockdowns, hiring challenges, supply chain issues and inflation.

Q: How is retail doing and how does digital signage help?

Retail is more ready than ever for digital signage-based solutions, as it solves for many of the issues you mentioned. It allows for greater personalization, more targeted and automated delivery of content to relieve the burden of the sales staff, and it allows for capex amortization when digital is also used to drive ad revenue.  Retail is a place people go for entertainment and as the world re-opens, digital helps deliver that theatrical value and sense of wonder and newness that the public expects to see – and craves. The speed of retail transformation has accelerated this tremendously – so speed is of the essence and more vital than ever.  They now understand it is no longer ‘business as usual’– seeing big retail resets with sizeable budgets to allow for transformation at scale.

Q: I’m sensing a rising interest in using screens in stores for endemic advertising, versus third-party advertising. Was that a driver in the Reflect acquisition because it had tools built for that?

Yes, it very much was a key driver insofar as Reflect brings a tremendous amount of credibility, development capabilities, and experience to the table with the ReflectView software and Adlogic monetization platform. We see this as vital moving forward, as it allows us to address a huge pain point for enterprises to be able to invest in digital in a way that will help recoup their investment, minimize capex, and deliver results.

Q: Are retailers understanding now that digital signage can help deliver experience?

Yes, now more than ever.  Shoppers come to retail for two core reasons:  to discover and feel the physical – and for service they can’t get online. Digital unleashes both and allows retailers to captivate, engage, story tell, enhance the consumer experience and at the end of the day – sell more stuff.

Q: What do you see as the main reason to be at DSE?

It’s been a tough two years, and we want to celebrate the success of just getting through this tough period.  We’re here to deepen our collaboration with existing partners, forge new relationships, and support the digital signage community.

Our 2022 Sponsors:

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