Integrator Launches Signage Network in 1,100 Mexican Banks
Mar 24, 2009 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt
When a senior executive from Santander Bank recently flew into Mexico City from the bank's headquarters in Spain, he was able to talk to all of his Mexican employees at once across 1,100 of the bank's retail locations via live video and audio. This corporate communications capability, which may be rolled out to other Santander Banks across Latin America, was implemented by Mexico City-based AV and digital-signage integrator Satellite Store Link (SSL).
"The bank is very happy with the live transmission (capability) because their senior managers now can talk with a one-time shot to their employees," says William Narchi, SSL's CEO. SSL is a full-service AV and digital signage shop that provides design, installation, network management, advertising, content development, and technical support to clients in banking, pharmaceutical, and convenience stores. SSL also operates its own private teleport and data center for its customers.
The Santander signage network uses SSL's satellite communications backbone to reach 1,200 bank branches with both live and store-and-forward video and audio content.
"We have one 40in. (Samsung) LCD in each location connected to Wegener receivers," Narchi explains. "We are using the system in order to provide the bank's employees information and training before the branches open. Then, when the branches open, we use the system to provide to customers information about the products and services of the bank. From our control center, we have the capability to turn off and on the LCD screens, and we transmit content direct via satellite from our offices in Mexico City."
SSL's Santander network is modeled after a similar 1,500-screen network that SSL deployed in Mexico for CitiGroup-owned Banamex. As with the Banamex rollout, Santander's network uses signage technology from Wegener, including iPump 562 media servers, IP-based peripheral decoders, and Compel network controllers.
"We didn't have to do a pilot because of our experience with Banamex," Narchi says. "That was our proof that this network works. We decided to continue with the Wegener system because we already had the central software." SSL closed the deal in December 2007 and then spent the entirety of 2008 rolling out the Santander network, which launched in all 1,200 branches in mid-February of this year.
In addition to live transmission capabilities, SSL used Wegener's platform "because it gave us addressability for each individual site," Narchi says. This allows tailoring of content for each location. "In Monterrey, they can promote one product, and promote another in Cancun. Cancun is for tourists, whereas Monterrey is an industrial city." To provide audio capabilities in conjunction with the 40in screens, "in every branch we installed an amplifier with ceiling speakers—around eight to 10 speakers in every branch—so customers can listen to the programming and listen to music."
SSL's management and support of Santander's network is comprehensive; bank employees never have to touch the system. "I provide content, I manage the system, I provide maintenance to the system," Narchi says. "I have people all over the country, so once a month my people do preventative maintenance. And if something is wrong at a branch, I can send somebody quickly." SSL also handles most content production, Narchi adds. "Sometimes they send me their TV ads, but mainly I do everything."
In fact, despite the size of the network, "I just have one contact in the bank, and with that contact we can manage everything they need," he says. "I am a one-stop shop. They feel great about it because they don't have to deal with a lot of people or create a separate department in order to manage the system."
Narchi says that digital signage gives the bank a low-cost way not only to communicate with employees and advertise to customers, but also to improve customer satisfaction.
"The bank is interested to sell more products to their current customers, and now they don't have to have a national TV ad. They can use signage to sell more cheaply because they own the system," he explains. "Customers like it a lot because they are being entertained while they are waiting in the branches," which cuts their perceived wait time in half.
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