D&H Canada expanding focus on digital signage space

Digital signage is now a mature IT market, but for D&H, it is hotter than ever. They expect recent momentum in the space to be increased by a new relationship with Atlona, which just signed with D&H in the U.S., and will be in Canada before the end of the year.

Randy Churchill, Director Marketing and Business Development at D&H Canada

Digital signage is no longer a shiny new toy in the IT community. The technology, even in its purely IT form, has now been around for years and it has lost that sheen of newness compared to other technologies. It has not, however, lost its value to solution providers and distributors. D&H Canada is following up on the efforts of D&H in the U.S and is ramping up its digital signage and AV efforts. They have launched a new initiative specifically in this area. It will also include a new partnership with Atlona, which just launched in the U.S., and is coming to Canada as well.

“Our digital signage business at D&H Canada is very relevant, more so now than ever before,” said Randy Churchill, Director Marketing and Business Development at D&H Canada. “It’s probably in the top five in terms of our businesses in Canada, and in the last quarter, that’s increased from the top ten. Before I think that many resellers looked on digital signage as something that was nice to have, but not something that they necessarily needed to have. The change today is that it just has become so prevalent. It’s visible everywhere. Some of the biggest ones today are in houses of worship, areas that you don’t think of when you think of digital signage.”

Accordingly, D&H Canada has formally launched a new initiative focusing on the Pro AV/digital signage space. This includes solutions covering  large format digital signage, collaboration and videoconferencing solutions, projectors, screens, audio solutions, media players, mounts, and accessories.

The trends in convergence between traditional Pro/AV and the IT side have made this market more attractive to the IT reseller, Churchill said.

“In the past, AV was purely a static display for local communities,” he indicated, with partners who were focused on that space doing most of the business. “Today wireless pros have the connectivity expertise to bring digital signage into their business repertoire. That didn’t use to be the case. It was a great unknown before for these kinds of resellers. But all the cable runs that were part and parcel of this business ten years ago are now gone, and these partners can deal with things that they understand.”

D&H has aggressively pushed this capability through their relationship with AVIXA, [the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association] the trade association and standards body for the Pro/AV business that used to be known as InfoComm International before a rebranding late last year.

“We have in-house technical specialists working with that standards body,” Churchill said. “We use that relationship to bring our channel partners channel experienced experts that they can leverage. They didn’t have access to this kind of expertise before in Pro/AV. That’s how you take technology to SMBs. You have to ease them into the technology, while also providing them with a path to profitability. We want them to be the experts themselves in their small local community.”

D&H’s base in Canada, just like in the U.S., is heavily weighted to these small local resellers, and they are found in metro centres as well as small towns.

“We have 500 accounts in a 60 km radius of Markham ON [a satellite town of Toronto in the northeast of the Greater Toronto Area],” Churchill said.

D&H Canada already has relationships with many key vendors in different aspects of the Pro/AV and digital signage space, including Acer, ASUS, Casio, Dell, Epson, Gefen, Lenovo, LG, NEC, Samsung, StarTech Tripp Lite, and ViewSonic. However, D&H just signed a new distribution agreement with Atlona, a traditional Pro/AV vendor that is relatively new to the IT channel, and which has rolled out a set of solutions for the IT reseller which they are highlighting this week at the CompTIA ChannelCon event in Washington D.C.

“D&H is a trusted advisor to the SMB, and rather than offer everything on our line card, we keep our focus on what we consider to be best-in-class,” Churchill stated. “My AV people tell me that Atlona is just a bulletproof environment, and something that has previously been unavailable in the SMB community. It provides an elevated level of technology that they can put in their business offering. Several partners at the ChannelCon show have told me that they are really excited about Atlona.”

Atlona is available in the U.S. now through D&H. In Canada, there are some more i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed, but Churchill said that it is on its way.

“Atlona should be in Canada by late calendar Q4,” he indicated.

Atlona is only one of several vendors who will be making their appearance in Canada through D&H, following their initial coming to D&H in the U.S.

“It coincides with our recent partnership with LG, and Samsung is coming as well,” Churchill said. :It will be the first foray for both of those partners in Canada with us.”