Video, Digital Signage Are SMB Trailblazers, Says D&H ExecBy John Hazard | Posted 2006-06-14 Email Print
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Video and digital signage and a handful of other technologies are leading the way in SMB sales.
Video and digital signage and a handful of other technologies are not only leading the way in small and midsize business sales, but they are pulling additional technology, especially networking, into the market, said D&H Distributing's Daniel Schwab.
The must-have technologies are taxing networks, forcing SMBs to invest in their infrastructure and vendors to come down to them if they're to have a player in the game, said Schwab, D&H's vice president of marketing.
"Video is driving the whole market right now," he told ChannelInsider last week during the distributor's Mid-Atlantic Trade Show in Hershey, Pa. "Once they're able to download content, the pipes need to be fed. That means networks, security, storage. It's no longer just the network, but everything hanging off of it."
One particular driver is the explosion of video and digital signage into new arenas, beyond the videoconference and multimedia presentations.
Helping to bring the trend down to the SMB level is the role of larger third-party content providers, who are more capable of building out the network to the SMB level and providing content in exchange for customer access, Schwab said.
"Doctors' offices now have video content in waiting rooms, looping a wellness program that might be sponsored by the insurance carrier," he said. "Big companies will help drive adoption. With their economy of scale, they're able to drive down the price."
Network vendor Cisco Systems has taken steps to encourage SMB adoption of network solutions and will likely continue, Schwab said.
VOIP (voice over IP) is also driving network demand, Schwab said.
Uses in digital signage go beyond waiting rooms, said John Haught, an SMB channel sales account representative at NEC Display Solutions of America.
"It's working for anyone who has a use for content and the need to keep it fresh," he said. "Content can be as simple as a menu or as complex as interactive video. And many turn around and let them pay for themselves with advertising."
Realtors now stream home listings onto storefront billboards, restaurants display menus, law firms allow clients to view explanatory videos, and security firms use Web cams and IP networks for physical security, he said.
A typical job requires multiple solution sets, from storage, security and networking to wall mounting, Haught said.
Western Digital, a hard drive manufacturer, is now marketing many of its storage devices to SMBs not simply for core business use, but for multimedia use, storing pictures, music and video for business use.