ARC 2011: Digital Signage

WINNER: ViewSonic

ViewSonic swept the Display category

In the 2011 Annual Report Card, ViewSonic came away with the win in CRN's new Digital Signage category. The vendor scored top points in the areas of support and partnership, but was slightly edged out by competitor NEC in product innovation, 77.6 to 77.3.

According to Director of Marketing Gene Ornstead, ViewSonic was able to keep its momentum going strong in 2011 with a differentiated product set that goes beyond the standard offerings.

ViewSonic launched a new line of ePosters, which range from 10 inches to 55 inches, and can be wall-mounted or freestanding. The vendor also has been working with leading software developers to bring interactive applications into the mix, launching dual-screen units with touch-screen interactivity over the past few months. ViewSonic is also migrating into the video wall concept, Ornstead said.

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The vendor also realized that digital signage installations require special expertise, and has worked over the year to customize its partner program for those solution providers who specialize in digital signage. It tailored its communications and added more attractive front-end margins, and a quarterly rebate program to reward partners based on the level of business they've achieved.

"Before we had a regular program that was open to everyone and were communicating this is what's happening with monitors, TVs, tablets. But then we recognized that we needed to make a more customized program for resellers that is focused on digital signage. They have a different set of needs," said Sarah Kearns, ViewSonic's internal marketing manager.

And ViewSonic plans to keep the momentum going in 2012, with an updated Web portal, a new loyalty rewards program, and online surveys and training dedicated to digital signage partners.

"We're actively listening to our partners and we're continuing to provide them with valuable programs to increase their profitability and grow their business," said Kearns.