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Displays are becoming smarter and more versatile. Business Info finds out more from Andy Haywood, Head of Global Sales Europe at Samsung European Displays Organisation

Samsung’s professional displays division addresses more than 80%of the total display market by focusing on nine different verticals– corporate, retail, transportation, education, quick service restaurants (QSR), digital out of home (e.g. sports arenas, entertainment venues and museums), manufacturing, hotels and healthcare – meeting customer needs with its standard product range and some sector-specific solutions, in healthcare for example.

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Overall, its product range extends from semi-professional products for the SOHO and SMB sectors all the way through to high-end, professional displays designed to run 24/7 at high brightness, with display sizes stretching from 19in desktop monitors up to 98- inch professional displays, plus a range of software solutions built around Samsung’s Tizen platform.

“In every vertical there are overlaps rather than gaps, so we can meet all customer requirements that I’m aware of right now,” claims Andy Haywood, Head of Global Sales Europe at Samsung European Displays Organisation.

This is quite some feat considering the variety of applications and multiple sub-categories you might find in each vertical, such as campus wayfinding, boardroom displays and collaboration solutions in the corporate sector and wayfinding, out of home and retail advertising, command and control rooms and passenger information displays in airports.

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“Every sector has its own vertical needs, but the products themselves
are designed to be flexible,” explains Haywood. “A 24/7 passenger information display in an airport would need to be a certain brightness because the ambient lighting is controlled. Move into the corporate sector, and the same displays in a meeting room won’t be run at the same brightness; they’ll be turned down from say 700 nits to 500 nits to prolong the life of the display and to improve return on investment. Everybody approaches things in a slightly different way.”

Expert partners

In order to meet diverse customer requirements, Haywood says Samsung relies on channel partners that have in-depth knowledge of their customers, as well as expertise in display technologies.

“We only go to market through our channel, through distribution and through resellers and integrators. Partners range from small specialist integrators that provide a very personalised service and who don’t just work with SMBs but also with major corporates and multinationals, through to multinational resellers that are able to provide consistency of product delivery to large enterprises around the world. There is a need for all sorts of resellers with different skill sets and capabilities.”

So, what for Samsung have been the big growth areas of the last 24 months?

Education

“Some of the most interesting trends to have emerged since COVID are things like virtual studios and virtual production – reducing the need to have multiple people in one location to produce something, whether that’s one of the recent Star Wars movies, if you’re doing big screen, or product advertising. Visual production facilities have improved so much that there’s no longer the need to rent enormously expensive studios. That’s been a really interesting development,” explains Haywood.

“Another area of growth is command and control. As everybody becomes more aware of the capabilities of command and control, it’s no longer seen as just a security piece. It also has a role to play in manufacturing, controlling factory equipment for example, or looking at ingress and egress in buildings. In a shopping centre, it’s not just a case of tracking cameras and making sure that people are behaving properly; it’s also about monitoring the flow of people and if it looks like traffic is building up in one area, redirecting people to reduce the pressure.”

Haywood adds that there is also now more flexibility in the location and positioning of command and control rooms.

“In airports, Command and Control no longer needs to be at the top of a control tower. It can be at the bottom of the tower or, as we see more and more now, in a centralised location. I was speaking to a colleague at an event in Frankfurt last week who specialises in financial security, and he’s built a dedicated control room for some of his banking customers that is nowhere near the City of London.”

Corporate sales

A third area of growth is the corporate sector, which has benefited from the opening up of offices after lockdown and the boom in meeting rooms to meet the needs of a hybrid workforce, as well as greater awareness of the benefits of moving to digital whether for sustainability or cost control reasons.

“COVID was a very difficult time from a business perspective, but throughout 2019 we still saw quite significant growth. A lot of that was down to our monitor division, which falls under professional displays. People were no longer able to go into the office and found that working off their laptop display was unacceptable, so we saw a significant uplift in sales of professional monitors during that period.”

As examples, Haywood highlights Samsung Smart Monitors, which
met the needs of people without a dedicated home office by doubling
as a business monitor and as an entertainment hub, and Samsung’s entry into the kiosk market with products that could be used for queue management and wayfinding to help people feel safe moving into public spaces after lockdown.

“Then, as we transitioned out of COVID and offices started to open up, there was that pent-up demand from corporate refresh phases and new builds that needed to be finished quickly, which helped almost to kickstart the market.”

Other significant trends in the corporate sector, he suggests, are
the growth of managed services, the emergence of new ways of buying technology and the integration of software solutions from Samsung and third parties.

Work From Home

“Some of the system integrators, particularly the larger ones, have their own leasing companies behind them, while others will come to us or a third party. In the UK, there’s a Samsung business unit called Samsung Finance that is there to help customers and reseller partners to deploy displays as a service. Subject to certain criteria, we can do almost any project. It’s not just a case of financial support. It also involves putting in place a refresh programme, allowing for enhancements to technology and other considerations.”

These include the bundling of software solutions such as MagicINFO, Samsung’s own content management platform which enables customers to design, display and manage their digital content, and MagicINFO Remote Management, which allow IT departments or third parties to manage an entire network of displays.

“We can work with IT departments in small to medium-sized corporate environments to manage every single display on their network. We’ve all gone to sit down in a meeting and found that the last person in there has unplugged the network cable or taken the power out or neglected to report a fault on the display. Our remote management solutions allow you to manage everything around these displays, so you can proactively get into that meeting room before the next people arrive and rectify the core issue.

Events and Hospitality

“One of my customers in the retail world has in the region of 200 displays per store and most retail stores don’t have any IT trained staff. They’re all retail experts and product experts. If we can help maintain the uptime of those displays, it gives a better shopping experience for their customers. That can either be done by the reseller or by the customer. We sell the products through our reseller network to the end user, but we’re also seeing more and more reseller partners integrate this remote management solution into their own network operating centres as part of their value-add to their customers.”

In addition to its own solutions, the Samsung Smart Signage Platform (SSSP) allows partners to develop their own applications and offer them out to the Samsung display network so that customers can choose the applications that best suit their requirements.

Haywood adds that, together, Samsung and third-party solutions are continuing to transform the capabilities and applications of display technologies.

“If you go back a few years, a display was a rectangular object on a wall or the corner of a desk. It was nothing more than a mechanism for presenting information. Then, as we started to add things like system-on-chip for compute power, building that smart signage platform infrastructure and then starting to overlay touch, the display started to go from something that couldn’t do a great deal to something that is almost all-encompassing.

“The next piece for me is no longer just the display. It’s the connected meeting room. Look at the way Samsung devices in a domestic environment can all hang together – you’ve got smart fridges and smart washing machines and smart tumble dryers and smart kettles all connected through a Samsung infrastructure – and how we can move that into the corporate space to enhance smart meeting room capability and smart buildings. It’s no longer just about selling a product; it’s about being smarter and being more sustainable.”

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