Look Sharp for AV channel opportunities

Sharp Electronics (UK) Ltd has created a dedicated Commercial AV team, to serve the needs of business customers looking for audio/visual or digital signage solutions. Iain Hunter, divisional manager (pictured right), leads the Commercial AV team. Here he talks to
IT Reseller about this new development.

Q: What is the Sharp Commercial AV Divisions route to market?

A: The Sharp Commercial AV team has identified specific vertical sectors including hotel, leisure, betting, digital signage, corporate and AV for growth. Each of these vertical sectors requires different, tailored solutions. For instance, we work closely with specific resellers who focus on the betting and hotel industry. These resellers have expertise aimed at their own market areas, and our goal is to work closely with them in building the Sharp brand within these sectors. Others markets require a different approach. Within leisure, corporate and AV, we partner with specific distributors and a number of specialist resellers who are successful in their own sector. Regarding digital signage, we recognise that this is at an embryonic stage. Currently, we target the signage market via our reseller partners. The Sharp Aquos LC65GD1E (65-inch Aquos LCD TV) - a current model in our range - is ideally suited for digital signage applications, due to its size and excellent resolution. We will be looking to introduce a range of LCD Commercial Displays into the UK market in early 2007. Our strategy will be to work with resellers who are actively pursuing signage opportunities, and, where appropriate, to project manage some opportunities ourselves.

Q: How do you view the current state of the European/UK?

A: Sharp UK is extremely upbeat about developments and opportunities within the Commercial AV arena. We will be well placed to take advantage of opportunities with our strategy of introducing larger format LCD displays and projectors designed to suit the channels that we have identified. Later this year, Sharps new Kameyama II LCD plant in Japan will come online, manufacturing large displays suitable for both home and business markets. We are especially interested in working with resellers who are active in supplying the leisure and corporate marketplaces and who recognise the benefit of larger size LCD display technology and projection devices.

Q: Do you need to expand your current channels? If so, what kinds of partners are you looking for?

A: We are currently investigating the best overall solutions for the specific channels we have identified. This means that we need to identify content providers, installers and other partners who can assist us in providing the best overall solution to the end user.

Q: How will you support them?

A: Within the reseller sector, Sharp will provide product training, pre and post sales technical advice and back-up, along with marketing assistance and incentives.

Q: What are your ambitions for the commercial AV division?

A: Sharp has an excellent pedigree within the LCD TV arena with the Aquos brand. It is my intention to increase our Aquos presence within the Commercial AV arena, while introducing a range of commercial LCD displays specific for commercial applications. he Sharp Corporation has identified the Commercial AV arena as a key growth area for the company. Sharp UK is well placed to take advantage of opportunities within this sector due to current and future product plans and an increase in focus and resource overall.

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