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The Medium is the Message

May 24, 2010 12:00 PM, By Cynthia Wisehart

Content and technology drive digital signage.


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X2O has a distinct business model for intersecting with the market—“three pillars,” as Wilkins puts it. The first pillar is the company’s technology platform (Wilkins holds two engineering patents) and the Xpresenter products built on that platform. These products come from a broadcast heritage that considers the importance of high resolution, clean motion graphics, sync—elements of broadcast quality. Among the eight products you can see at the X2O booth at InfoComm are smart-template-based presenters that allow anyone who can use PowerPoint to transition into digital signage content creation and management. The goal was to combine the quality of broadcast graphics with the reality that users would not be graphics designers. But Wilkins explains that products alone can’t make the value proposition—customers need to see it in context, both technically in terms of the network and conceptually in terms of how content could help a business succeed.

The second pillar is content services—whether X2O supplies original content, manages the client’s own content, licenses content in the client’s behalf, or a combination. The third area is network operations services. Analogous to outsourcing email management, X2O can host and manage an internal broadcast network, either as a standalone element or in conjunction with other parts of the enterprise network.

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“We bridge to whatever existing information systems they have and whatever they have already built on their intranet. Everything that’s going on in the enterprise is potential content; that’s the gap we’re trying to bridge. We come at it from the network perspective, both in terms of the broadcast network model and IT networks,” Wilkins says.

In both these environments, interactivity is just beginning to turn up—smart templates, audience measurement systems, and demographic-driven messaging.

X2O is not, however, a systems integrator. “We need partners,” Wilkins says. “Ideally someone who is going to really be able to understand the customers’ business needs as opposed to hang screens on the walls. They need to be able to understand and help define the objective of the network and work with us to define what that means technically. If an integrator already has a strong relationship with an end user and can see there is an unmet need or a potential opportunity, we can help them formulate that value proposition around our technical platform and our services.”

Many of X2O’s biggest projects have come in through integrators who know their product. In other cases, it works the other way around, with X2O engaging the user and seeking out an integrator if the customer does not already have one. Sometimes the sales cycle starts on the advertising or marketing side of a business looking for technology.

AV is moving rapidly to the value-added sale, Wilkins says, and that under¬standing drives his relationships both to potential customers and partners. X2O brings products to tradeshows, does reseller training, and produces webinars. Wilkins is a frequent speaker at conference and strategy gatherings. He’s part of a network of new thinking that you may want to intersect with. Start at booth #1961 at InfoComm, or at www.x2omedia.com or www.youtube.com/user/x2omedia. X2O also maintains a useful site for introduction to content for digital signage at www.x2omedia.com/content_home.asp.



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