Samsung launched a new digital signage product today aimed at small businesses. Dubbed Samsung Smart Signage TV, the new line of displays blends hardy, commercial-grade components with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile-enabled software. Digital signage can help boost small business marketing efforts and engage customers.
Samsung introduces "a brand new category designed for ease-of-use for the small and midsized business," Tom Evans, director of marketing for commercial displays at Samsung, told Small Business Computing.
Available in two sizes (40- and 48-inches), Samsung Smart Signage TV supports both landscape and portrait modes. A minimalist, slim-bezel design makes it easy to incorporate the displays into practically any environment. Right out of the box, the full-HD, LED backlit displays include everything that businesses need to get started, said Evans.
One-Stop Digital Signage
The package includes a stand, a wall mount and the company's MagicInfo Express signage and content-management software. An embedded media player "alleviates the need to have a separate device feeding content to the display," added Evans.
The Samsung Smart Signage TV.
MagicInfo Express includes more than 200 professional templates. You can also use the software to split the on-screen real estate into three regions, resulting in a screen that displays video, text and still images simultaneously. For example, today's specials, store hours, or special promotions can surround the game during half-time or other live programming.
The software is also a breeze for anyone who has ever put together a presentation, according to Evans. "Someone who has used PowerPoint or Keynote is rockin' and rollin' pretty quickly," he said.
You load content onto a Samsung Smart Signage TV using its built-in Wi-Fi, an ad-hoc connection that doesn't require complicated setup or even an established wireless network. Alternately, you can use a USB thumb drive.
Spot a mistake? The MagicInfo Mobile app lets you make on-the-spot edits or switch out photos using an Android or iOS device.
Television At Work
TVs and small business have a long, fruitful history together. Just step into the local watering hole on game day to witness its magnetic pull.
Retailers, salons and professional services providers have also turned to television as an attention-grabbing alternative to fixed signage and information panels. Sadly, small- and midsized-businesses (SMBs) are going about it the wrong way, said Evans.
When it comes time to hang a TV on the wall or tuck it into a corner of their shops, the majority of small business owners head to big-box retailers like Best Buy. For 67 percent of business buyers, the "first purchase was a consumer TV," said Evans. "No surprise here, everyone is a consumer at the end of the day."
The trouble with that approach is that not all TVs are created equal.
What works in the living room isn't necessarily the right solution for the workplace. Consumer-grade televisions are designed to run about eight hours a day under generally calm and predictable conditions. Toss one into a busy workplace—one punctuated by long hours—and their shortcomings become glaringly obvious.
Evans recalls the scene at his favorite pizza shop. Every time that he walks in, he seethes inwardly at the sight of a consumer TV operating within arm's reach of workers slinging pizza dough. Needless to say, replacements are frequent and ultimately costly.
Samsung Smart Signage TVs are built to withstand 16 hours of use, seven days a week. Some manufacturers will void the warranty (typically just one year) on consumer TVs that have been enlisted for commercial use, says Evans. Samsung, on the other hand, covers its commercial displays with a 3-year warranty and dedicated business support services.
What good is all of Samsung's effort if small business buyers still roll up to their favorite big-box retailer or club stores? Evans said that Samsung has read the writing on the wall and now makes its Smart Signage TVs available through major electronics retailers, membership clubs and commercial resellers, of course.
Samsung Smart Signage TVs will start shipping by early September, said Evans. Prices are $749 for the 40-inch model and $999 for the 48-inch model. Due to demand for other sizes, he hinted that more models are in the works.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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