Avnet ramping up digital signage services

Airport Digital DisplayAvnet Technology Solutions and its sister company Avnet Electronics Marketing are extending their digital signage practice, jointly launching the Brilliant Digital Signage Suite of Services that aim to move the distributor and its VARs from dealing with digital signage hardware to content, services and solutions.

Avnet has long had connections with digital signage vendors, but about eight months ago, it started to recognize a shift in what VARs were looking for, according to Larry Fullop, vice president and general manager of supplier sales acceleration in the Americas for Avnet Technology Solutions.

“We have a pretty good hardware support offerings, but now we’re seeing getting into design and implementation,” Fullop said. “We’ve started to understand that a strategy around providing solutions.”

So how does digital signage for a company like Avnet Technology Solutions that has ultimately staked its claim around the data centre? Fullop calls it a natural extension, particularly as VARs expand their digital signage practice beyond displays and networking and into content management and other solutions sales. That’s particularly true in some of the distributor’s top targeted verticals, like healthcare and retail.

“If [VARs serving those markets] follow the cable out of the data centre, they’ll find digital signage opportunities in these spaces,” he said. “A lot of VARs want to get deeper into content management, because at the end of the day, it’s what’s being delivered, the output of the product, that matters.”

To support various groups of channel partners, Avnet is introducing a suite of services around the data centre in both the U.S. and Canada. How exactly a partner engages with them depends on the role they play in the channel, Fullop said.

The distributor has been doing site surveys and implementations of the backend for VARs more familiar with the professional audio/video market, while with data centre VARs, it takes on more of the work around the front end – implementing the displays those servers and networks will feed.

Fullop also sees a major opportunity in providing services to VARs across the border and around the world – acting as the local implementation team for VARs who have customers in locations where they may not have local feet on the street. “One of our strengths is our ability to take services globally for companies that want to do rollouts across the globe,” he said.

Services on the menu include:

  • site surveys and display/network installations.
  • custom integration
  • content management
  • on-site service level agreements and extended warranties
  • financing;
  • asset recovery; and
  • technical support expertise.

No surprise: the biggest opportunity the distributor sees is in the retail market, where digital signage is de rigeur. The distributor has included digital signage training and information in its RetailPath University program. But Fullop said he also sees significant opportunities in healthcare and in financial markets as well.

“We expect this business to see very strong growth for us – one of our larger growth areas this year,” he said. “It’s a market that’s really taken off and is growing fast.”