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8/11/2009 5:47 PM
 

Last week, Wireless Ronin put out a press release announcing that NEC Display Solutions of America, would now resell Wireless Ronin's RoninCast software. While it’s not unusual in this industry for two manufacturers to partner on this sort of “reselling” agreement, the digital signage industry, with its mix of hardware and software providers, has some interesting dynamics.

"As a leader in digital signage solutions, NEC Display Solutions of America is pleased to offer Wireless Ronin's software to its customers. RoninCast software provides NEC Display Solutions of America with the opportunity to sell the fully-customized, hosted content management solution to end users," said Pierre Richer, president and COO, NEC Display Solutions of America, in the press release earlier this week. "We look forward to a long-term partnership with Wireless Ronin."

According to the Ronin press release, “The RoninCast software enables NEC Display Solutions of America to offer a solution for large digital signage networks that require a robust customized solution.”

"Our agreement with NEC Display Solutions of America will substantially change our sales reach by extending our software into the hands of its sales personnel across the United States and Canada," said James (Jim) Granger, president and CEO of Wireless Ronin Technologies. "Our years of successful collaborative customer work with NEC Display Solutions of America have brought us to the point where it's a logical progression to give their sales force access to RoninCast software."

Wireless Ronin and NEC Display Solutions of America have worked together in the past,  with the most notable collaboration probably being on the KFC digital signage installation. But it is always tricky when two players in this industry team up in this way. A company like NEC ostensibly wants to not alienate all the digital signage content management software vendors out there who are competitors with Ronin....
so my question is: why is NEC agreeing to "resell" Ronin software? I can certainly understand partnering with Ronin, or Scala, or Omnivex, or any other number of software companies on particular jobs, but does NEC "resell" any of those others? (And won't Scala, Omnivex, Broadsign, etc, etc. perceive that NEC is now competing with them–by "reselling" Ronin?)

Speaking just yesterday, with a top executive at one of the big flat panel display makers (not NEC), we were talking about whether the industry had evolved beyond the big digital signage content management software providers sourcing the lion’s share of the big new digital signage jobs. I mentioned that I thought we had gone beyond that, to where big integrators are now doing more sourcing of important jobs. He said that there are still more big jobs than you think that are sourced by the software companies.

In either case, it’s clear flat panel display makers need relationships with software providers, and vice versa. I’m not sure which way the arrow is pointing more at this stage of the market– there is no clear trend.

…. Finally, just heard from NEC that:
“….We are already a reseller of Rise, Omnivex, Scala, etc through our current Partner Program. WR has asked to be included in this program due to the relationship that has developed via KFC…”

 
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