Name:
Richard Ventura
Position: VP of Strategy
Company: NEC Display
Overtime: Serves as chairman of the Digital Signage Federation, giving him better insight into industry trends.

SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities?
Richard Ventura: This was actually just recently announced, but I am now vice president of strategy for NEC Display. Formerly I served as vice president of business development and solutions. The new role reflects an evolution within NEC as we focus and look to future growth and ways to deliver more value for our partners, customers, and NEC. The responsibilities of this team include midterm planning, platform development, balancing the company scorecard, and focusing on organizational alignment.

SCN: How long have you been at this position?
RV: My VP of strategy role has only recently been made official, but I’ve been at NEC Display for 17 years, and have been part of the sales and marketing organizations. This new role is really the next evolution of my career with NEC.

SCN: How has your background prepared you for your new role?
RV: I’ve been fortunate to grow and over time nurture my career at NEC Display with opportunities to work with and engage throughout the organization. My career began as a regional salesperson focusing on territorial sales and moved through various roles, including business development manager, vertical sales organization, product marketing, solutions operations, and strategy. Currently I serve as the chairman of the Digital Signage Federation, which has enabled me to serve the industry by identifying trends and aligning our organizational strategies.

SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals?
RV: In the short term, I want to continue the natural evolution of NEC as it expands its solutions offerings. Long term, I will be focusing on driving growth from that expansion, and continuing to develop processes and solutions that deliver value for our partners and the industry.

SCN: What is the greatest challenge that you face?
RV: The existence of an office of strategic management is new within organizations. While this is a bit of an unknown, it’s also part of the challenge and the fun part of taking on this new position. As we structure the organization, we’re going to be challenging the whole company to do things differently. You could say it’s just the newness of what we’re doing that will be the greatest challenge, but that’s what I’m excited about. If I wanted a boring job, I’d do something else.

SCN: Where do you see your market heading?
RV: It may sound counterintuitive at first, but I would say the market is in chaos. And that’s a good thing! In this kind of chaos, there’s much more differentiation and new applications of technology. I see the market growing, developing, evolving—not doing the same thing every day. We’re looking at the evolution of hardware, software, solutions, content, engagement, and measurement, the latter being especially important to the growth of the industry. We’re starting to look beyond just the physical screen and starting to ask questions. For example, how do we impact and change how digital signage engages audiences and communicates information?

SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from NEC?
RV: Primarily you’re going to see new initiatives that will facilitate growth and collaboration with our partners. We’ll be focusing more on building out both our simplified and complex display platforms.

SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you have to offer?
RV: The best way is through engagement. I would encourage systems contractors to attend our training events and be part of our partner programs. They can also get familiar with our value-added products like Naviset Administrator, color calibration tools, and customer support services. Our partners can also take things to the next level by focusing on developing complete solutions that address the specific needs of their customers, and utilizing solutions like Open Pluggable Specification devices, Raspberry Pi, collaboration tools, and NEC display technologies. Partners who understand our complete customer-centric solutions and execute them well will find themselves in a very solid position in the market.

Matt Pruznick is senior editor for SCN and Residential Systems. Follow him on Twitter @Pruznick.