Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Sony & Activelight Webex Conference Call

Just got off the Networked Display Webex presentation conference call from Sony Business Solutions. They discussed their new plasma displays (no LCD's yet), Digital Signage players and display control cards in conjuction with Activelight. Activelight is a great value added distributor who is supporting and help develop the digital signage industry. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

The biggest news - from our point of view - was the second slide. The slide stated that Sony's new strategy for digital signage is to not be a BOX seller. Sony's business solutions group desires to offer total solutions including products (hardware,software), services and network management. This is a move that differentiates themselves from the likes of their display manufacturer competition. We believe this is a wise move, but can argue their ability to offer total solutions in the ever changing landscape of digital signage. What's more curious here is that they have a partnership with Convergent. What will become of this partnership? If Convergent is a part of this new strategy, we're sorry for the above comments. However, Convergent was not mentioned on the conference call when they explained Sony is a total solutions provider.

Sony also introduced networking cards for controlling displays. Sony's new networking cards seem very familiar to what Philips Business Solutions Group have had for a couple of years. Webpavement partnered with Philips to create NetLink - which is basically what Sony is launching. Here you will see a Sony technician examining and taking notes at the Philips booth (networking cards section) at Infocomm 2003. We have to hand it to Sony - they can really bring products to market quickly.

Back to the WebEx conference call notes. Sony's digital signage products include the NSP-100 and the NSP-1. The NSP-1 is expected to be available in September. What we found interesting is the fact that the NSP-1 cannot be remotely operated. See for yourself here from Sony's presentation slide. This means that the NSP-1 can only be locally operated - not a good idea for distributed digital signage.

Don't get us wrong, Sony makes quality plasma's and great consumer electronic products. However, if you would want to partner with a company that is purely focused on Digital Signage - we urge you to get in touch with Webpavement to discuss your needs.

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