3M Digital Signage has opened a UK office with a mission to bring its proven portfolio of software and display hardware solutions to a European customer base in retail, entertainment, leisure, corporate, education and other key markets.
The business will be based at 3M UKs head offices in Bracknell, Berkshire. Simon Birkenhead has been appointed UK Sales and Marketing Manager for 3M Digital Signage, and a team of technical and sales specialists is currently being trained. 3M will use this UK office to support a rapid expansion across Europe using 3Ms existing offices in most European and Middle East countries.
Although new to Europe, 3M Digital Signage has a 15 year history in the US. In August 2005, 3M acquired Mercury Online Solutions and its FRED(TM) content management software. A pioneer in the digital signage market since 1996, Mercury Online acquired FRED in 2003. To date, 3M Digital Signage software has been used to drive over 6000 screens and interactive kiosks across thousands of locations for more than 100 clients in 23 countries, giving the company one of the worlds broadest installed footprints in this fast-growing area.
3M Digital Signage software provides advanced content and network management functionality for any configuration of a digital signage network. Customers are offered a scaled portfolio of solutions able to manage just a single screen or a global network of thousands of remote screens. Content distribution can be via a local area network, the internet, CD or CompactFlash, or via satellite multicasting.
Unlike many competitor software solutions, 3M Digital Signage software is fully compatible with all popular multimedia file formats, including Flash(TM) and MPEG, without requiring any conversion. It also offers the ability to divide screens into multiple content zones and the easy incorporation of live data feeds such as weather or news reports.
For Birkenhead a key strength of 3Ms software lies in its network management and proof-of-play capabilities. One of the main benefits of digital signage over printed signage is the assurance of improved marketing compliance, yet many current systems cannot identify if content is actually playing correctly on screens. 3M Digital Signage software offers the ability for network managers to see the detailed status of every single screen in real-time. With 3Ms technology, says Birkenhead, we are able to diagnose many hardware or software problems remotely before anyone at the location even notices a problem. The risk of blank screens or on-screen error messages is dramatically reduced.
In the UK, 3M Digital Signage is working closely with other 3M businesses offering products relevant to the digital display industry. These include 3M Optical Systems with its Vikuiti(TM) XRVS rear-projection screens and window films, 3M Touch Systems with its MicroTouch(TM) interactive monitors and sensors, and 3M Visual Systems with its range of digital projectors. 3M has over 55,000 products across more than 40 different business units, explains Birkenhead. 3M Digital Signage will bring together all of 3Ms technologies that will be of interest to customers seeking innovative digital signage solutions.
As one of the worlds leading diversified technology companies, 3M has customer relationships across a wide variety of industries, including retail, healthcare, government, manufacturing and education. 3M Digital Signage is already working with many of these customers and is in discussion with several of the large digital signage solutions providers in the UK and Europe. Birkenhead has already signed an agreement with MediaZest PLC, the in-store media solutions company, who will utilise 3M Digital Signage software as its preferred software platform. 3M is actively looking to sign similar agreements with other UK resellers and systems integrators.