ViewSonic made five separate product announcements at InfoComm 19, but this year, the message is not as much about the individual products as the broader vision that unites them.
ORLANDO – At the InfoComm 2019 event here, ViewSonic’s large booth has drawn a steady stream of traffic, mainly from partners, but also from key customers, especially in the education space. ViewSonic made five new product announcements at the show. In past years, that would have been the news in itself – five shiny new sets of products. This year though, the company is emphasizing their solutions capability, and their ability to solve broad digital transformation problems for partners on both the IT and AV sides of the house, as those channels increasingly converge.
InfoComm is a massive trade show with a solid AV focus, but ViewSonic sees both AV and IT as basically now converged, which has influenced ViewSonic’s strategies and created new opportunities for them.
“The entire AV and IT world is now converged,” Jeff Volpe, ViewSonic’s President, Americas, told ChannelBuzz. “Any of our significant partners in the IT space have created a lot of IP on the AV side. On the AV side they have added IT into their business, some through acquisitions. The process is only accelerating.”
ViewSonic has transformed itself to adapt to this, with a shift from emphasizing products to emphasizing solutions, and with software now being critical as well as ViewSonic’s traditional strength in hardware.
“Our transition from device-centric to solution-centric has led us to focus on developing software to solve problems at the customer level – and to collect data,” Volpe said. “Those tools have to have the ability to migrate from education to the enterprise boardroom, to digital signage. They need to be easily adaptable to solve problems out of the box, and to be very powerful, and use a lot of other tools that companies or education customers may already be using. That usage transcends across devices, as long as they use it with our box or embedded media players. We can provide data to help them know our tools better. We can tell them how to improve the usage of their tools, and to use them to determine ROI and TCO. All of this makes our software very interesting to both IT and AV.”
All of this drives ViewSonic’s strategic vision, which revolves around their interpretation of digital transformation and its impact, and unites the theme underlying the product announcements.
“I look at digital transformation in three pieces,” Volpe said. “One is a willingness to adopt technology to be more efficient and more productive. Then you have to have the ability to digitize your business, to take the analog out. Then you have to deploy tools to bring those pieces together. That is where we define the need for us to build tools to synergize our products – to connect, communicate, and leverage products and software in the digital space. That to me is Viewsonic’s definition of digital transformation.”
A highlight announcement for ViewSonic at this event was the introduction of their new high-end ViewBoard IFP70 Series of Interactive Flat Panel Displays, which won a Best In Show award at the event. These interactive panels are growing significantly in the market, in part because they are a good fit from both the IT and AV perspectives.
“We see a tremendous amount of hardware and software solutions that appeal to both IT and AV,” Volpe said. “Our large screen interactive and collaborative software connects and collaborates. They can talk to facilities, IT and AV in the same company, and can bring in security, one of the main convergence elements.”
“We are now number one for interactive flat panels now in North America,” said Deidre Deacon, General Manager for ViewSonic Canada. Those are Q1 numbers, as determined by NPD data.
“We are capitalizing on the momentum of being number one in North America, taking a leadership role here, and the prominence of these displays at our booth reflects that,” said Stan Klebanoff, Business Development Manager Canada at ViewSonic.
Klebanoff said that their software is the reason ViewSonic hit number one in interactive flat panels.
“The myViewBoard software has catapulted us forward with what is a whiteboard in the cloud,” he said. Tools, like the ability to infer from a user’s drawing what they are trying to depict, and provide a choice of premade pictures, are cloud-based differentiators.
“Interactivity is increasingly important as well,” Klebanoff added. “Today with convergence the IT guys are doing the boardroom as well, which used to be AV. It’s because these IT panels are connecting to the cloud.”
The education market is the largest component of this space, and ViewSonic has done increasingly well there. Historically, the higher price has been an obstacle in Canada for larger displays, but with prices of 75 inch interactive panels now under $3000, this has faded as an issue.
“Prices have come down significantly, and I don’t think there are any roadblocks,” Klebanoff said. “The funding model in education in Canada has put as a couple years behind the US, because we do take a more conservative approach in Canada, and school boards take their time with purchases.”
The newly announced ViewBoard IFP70 series, the top of the line, has native 4K Ultra HD resolution and a premium conference room camera and microphone array.
“It has additional high-end features like edge-to-edge glass and an IoT sensor that determines the number of people in the room and adjusts temperature and lighting accordingly,” Klebanoff said. The ViewBoard IFP70 series of interactive flat panel displays will be available in four sizes: 55-inch IFP5570, 65-inch IFP6570, 75-inch IFP7570, and 86-inch IFP8670. Pricing has not yet been announced.
Another new display product announced was the CDE9800 4K Ultra HD 98-inch Commercial Display. It has 4K UHD (3840×2160) resolution, 500-nits of brightness, and ViewBoard Cast streaming software to enable content streaming from PC/laptops and mobile devices. Aimed broadly at boardroom, classroom, business environments, it will be available in Q3 2019 for an MSRP of $USD 13,499.
A popular item at the booth from the commercial signage side was a new high end video wall which is the product of ViewSonic’s March partnership with Hiperwall, which makes distributed visualization software that makes it easy to build high- performance, scalable video walls.
“The key feature here is that limitless resolution,” said Bryan Phann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at ViewSonic. “Each display has a PC to drive native resolution, and it scales, so if you have 100 4K displays you have 400K resolution that you can use. A traditional video wall would take hours to be able to identify something required by police, and this can do it in 2-3 minutes. Everything is also in real time.
These capabilities are new for ViewSonic, and the target market is at the very high end.
“The market for this is control rooms, like for police and fire,” Phann said. “It will let them do things like quickly zoom in to identify a license plate. It’s a total solution.”
Two new laser high-brightness projectors, the ViewSonic LS900WU & LS850WU, which feature 6,000 and 5,000 lumens of brightness respectively, were announced.
“Projectors have kind of been pushed aside by flat panels, and as a result, projectors now tend to be in larger venues,” said Erik Willey – Product Marketing Director at ViewSonic. “But the product decline has levelled out because of solid state lamps, which extend life up to 10,000 hours, or LED, which is 30,000. It’s still easier to hang a flat panel, but it all comes down to user preferences.”
The LS900WU provides up to 30,000 hours of laser light source life, features a 1.15-1.9 throw ratio, and dual 5W speakers, and will be available in Q3 2019 at an MSRP of $USD 5,499. The LS850WU provides up to 20,000 hours of laser light source life, has a 1.36-2.18 throw ratio and dual 10W speakers, and will be available Q4 2019 at an MSRP of $USD 3,999.
Another new announcement was the M2 ultra-slim LED-based projector with native 1080p resolution and premium dual Harman Kardon speakers. It will be available in Q3 2019 at an MSRP of $USD 999.99.
ViewSonic has a smaller and more portable projector, but it comes at the price of a lower resolution.
“This one is 1080p, which is the best for commercial market needs,” said Dean Tsai, Director, Projector Business Unit.
InfoComm concludes today, with ViewSonic at booth #909 in Hall E.
“This has been a really fantastic show for ViewSonic, with a lot of potential clients and partners coming to see us,” Volpe summed up.