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Bob O'Malley

Senior vice president of U.S. marketing, Tech Data, a Clearwater, Fla., AV and IT products and services company. Tech Data recently added digital signage products and services to its professional AV specialized business unit.

Senior vice president of U.S. marketing, Tech Data, a Clearwater, Fla., AV and IT products and services company. Tech Data recently added digital signage products and services to its professional AV specialized business unit.

Pro AV: Other than providing digital signage products, what's Tech Data's added value in this market?

O'Malley: We know that the products are only part of the solution. Our pro AV specialized business unit supports both IT resellers and AV integrators with pre-and post-sales support to assist in designing, delivering, and supporting the entire solution.

Tech Data offers our customers access to technical, financial, e-commerce, integration, and education services that they can leverage to streamline operations, enhance customer service levels, and be more profitable. As digital signage applications rely more on networked infrastructure, Tech Data has the network competencies and suppliers to enrich the value-added reseller's business content and opportunity.

Pro AV: You've called digital signage an IT solution. Do you think it's more IT-based than AV-based?

O'Malley: Digital convergence continues to blur that line as typical AV solutions increasingly leverage IT infrastructure. To efficiently and cost effectively deploy these solutions, our customers often integrate digital signage into an end user's network. That requires expertise in networking, servers, storage, and security. It also requires content management software to manage both the structured and unstructured data.

Pro AV: How will digital signage systems operate two years from now?

O'Malley: As the convergence trend continues, the IT infrastructure and networking components will enable development of new and exciting AV solutions. I would expect manufacturers and software publishers to continue to develop products that let resellers and integrators deliver specialized digital signage solutions that are ideal for vertical markets, such as health care, hospitality, and retail. These applications will be dynamic, not static.

Pro AV: Can AV companies compete in the digital signage marketplace without also having IT expertise?

O'Malley: AV integrators have expertise and product knowledge, which is tremendously valuable in this space. However, the technology continues to move toward reliance on the network as we see the growth of IP-enabled devices, including displays and projectors. AV companies will need access to the technical expertise to integrate these solutions, which is a focus of our pro AV specialized business unit.

Increasingly, IT directors or chief information officers are making digital signage installation decisions, and they will want to be comfortable with the integrator handling all aspects of the project.



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