5-Minute Interview: Paul Gulick
Paul Gulick, founder and CEO, Clarity Visual Systems The Wilsonville, OR-based digital visual messaging solutions company announced the acquisition of French digital display manufacturer Synelec Telecom Multimedia S.A. in May.
Founder and CEO, Clarity Visual Systems The Wilsonville, OR-based digital visual messaging solutions company announced the acquisition of French digital display manufacturer Synelec Telecom Multimedia S.A. in May.
Pro AV:What does the recent acquisition of Synelec mean for Clarity?
Gulick: We have been very successful in North America with implementing our technology and serving a wide variety of customers — a lot of which are in the command & control room space where they're creating a large videowall. Looking to strongly expand into Europe, we knew that one of our key competitors was Synelec. We came across the opportunity to acquire the assets of the company out of its bankruptcy situation. Through that acquisition, we hope to accelerate our plans to become a true global leader in the delivery and display of digital information.
Pro AV:What new strengths will Synelec bring to Clarity?
Gulick: There is one key difference in the Synelec product line that historically Clarity has not done. We both offer stackable rear-projection videowall cubes in a variety of different technologies and sizes, so there is a strong synergy there. But Synelec also offers a videowall processor. We have typically relied on some of our videowall processor partners to offer that piece of the solution. Synelec has been very successful at the higher-end segments of the marketplace where an end-user may want to have one supplier for not only the video cubes but also for the processor. We're looking to have that be a new part of our business — especially in the European market.
Pro AV:Between the Synelec deal and the Cool Sign acquisition is Clarity ready to offer the entire digital signage package?
Gulick: That's clearly the plan. At the end of the day, customers increasingly need to communicate visually, and they need to have that visual information delivered in a way that they can send it over their networks. They increasingly want to have a total solution in the delivery and display of that information, which is what we're all about. Through the Cool Sign acquisition, we get the software tools for managing content over a network — particularly targeted at the digital signage world. Through Synelec, we've added an international base to our ability to sell and support display systems worldwide.
Pro AV:The only piece missing is control of the network. Is that currently in the plans as well?
Gulick: We already manage digital signage networks and network operations for a number of our customers. For example, one of our clients is a company that does advertising for a mall network. They have 22 malls with about 300 displays, and we manage the delivery of the content over the network as a service for them.
Pro AV:What will it take for pro AV integrators to succeed with digital signage?
Gulick: There are participants in the pro AV channel who are very used to the more traditional projector business in terms of selling higher volumes to their corporate clients. They're more in tune with some of those fleet-sale opportunities where they're moving a lot of boxes. There is another segment of the pro AV market that's more in tune with the high value-add of some of the really intensive integration systems, like the ones going into control rooms for some of the security, military, and high-end utility companies. The profile of the pro AV reseller who's going to be very successful in digital signage has characteristics of both — someone who's going to go in and sell to retail organizations at the highest level but also has a great deal of that networking integration capability. This kind of narrows the field down to people who have made investments in both sides of the business.