Dayton, Ohio-based Stratacache is one of the leading providers of intelligent digital signage, digital merchandising, mobile enablement and rich media solutions. These solutions help inspire and influence customers at the point of making decision thereby generating new sales opportunities. With over 1.5 million software activations globally, the company claims to have the deepest and widest footprint in the market, which it is enhancing by consistently improving offerings to better serve its customers. Stratacache currently serves 28 countries with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Bentonville, Dallas, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Adelaide, Luxembourg and Bangalore.
Stratacache has recently acquired Scala Solutions that delivers engaging experiences by connecting networks of digital signs, kiosks, mobile devices, websites and Internet-connected devices in both public and private environments. Scala provides the platform to easily create and centrally manage deployment of experiences, while retaining the flexibility to rapidly adapt to local business conditions. Scala has over 25 years’ experience informing, educating and entertaining audiences across wide-ranging industries like retail, finance, education, healthcare and more. Headquartered near Philadelphia, PA, Scala has a world-wide network of partners and developers spanning more than 100 countries.
In order to know the synergies between the two business houses i.e. Stratacache and Scala, and how has been former’s experience in India Sign & POP World got connected with Manish Kumar, Stratacache’s Vice President. Kumar is a dynamic business professional who has accomplished many achievements within the IT & T industry across multi-regional multinational organisations. His consultative approach combined with exceptional communication skills allows him to understand customers and ensure they are at the forefront. His enthusiasm & flair within the digital technology realm has allowed him to excel and strategically drive growth within regions across the world. While speaking to us, Kumar shared the nuances of acquisition for Stratacache and its presence in India in detail. Here are the excerpts to follow:
Which all are the latest acquisitions at Stratacache? Please discuss.
The acquisition of Scala by Stratacache combines the largest US digital signage company with the largest international digital signage company. This is providing significant operational synergies and allows both firms to deliver enhanced solutions and services to customers across the globe, benefitting from the advantages of each other’s existing assets such as platform strengths and subject matter expertise.
With the acquisition of Scala, Stratacache committed to the growth of the brand – which already had a substantial global footprint – in terms of significant operational scale, investment/cost advantages and resources such as enhanced support and services. For Scala, most recently it was announced that they will extend their digital solutions to include a line of powerful Scala-branded media players and commercial tablet products; this is made possible by leveraging Stratacache’s logistics expertise.
At the end of the day, the benefit is to the current customers, potential customers and global partner network. Together, the two companies – along with others in the Stratacache family of complementary digital solutions companies – increase the value for customers by delivering richer and more comprehensive solutions to engage customers across multiple digital platforms. All Stratacache companies are now able to focus on partnering with our customers to deliver the best platform and resources to tackle their project, no matter the size, score or complexity, as well as broadening the scope of offerings and solutions.
How will it change the business arena for Stratacache in India and globally?
If you look at Scala, they have a big footprint globally and a very big market share within the APAC region, whereas Stratacache has a large footprint concentrated in the US. What this acquisition has done that it has increased the footprint across the globe. The customers will be getting the best of both worlds, a global solution no matter which region they might be based. In addition, this will now allow our customers/end users to enhance their experience by bringing to them the best and most innovative technology within the digital signage industry. The Stratacache family of companies all create digital solutions that complement each other – for example instore media engagement, gaming activation and multimedia acceleration distribution – all of which enhance the audience experience.
Now that you have completed more than a year, how has been your experience in India when it comes to perforating digital signage?
The Indian market has been a very challenging market and one of the main reasons is because India has just come out of its nascent stage in adopting digital signage. As we face the challenges, we know that there is so much potential within this market, and we have the platforms to introduce digital solutions in a cost effective way and, perhaps of equal importance, to scale with the project. What has been really good to observe is the digital drive by the Indian government, which I believe is changing the landscape of digital media technology for India. It is an exciting time to be a major player in the industry’s growth, and STRATACACHE has always been aware of this potential within the Indian market.
How is the Indian digital signage and advertising market different than those of other countries of your presence?
The Indian digital market is a growing market and on its way to reaching maturity. The innovation in technology is still trickling down to the customers in India. Knowledge sharing really needs to happen within the industry to take it to the next level. That’s really the key role of vendors like Stratacache – to educate the market about the advancements of technology and digital platforms. We are showing potential customers what they can really achieve and how digital solutions can be effectively deployed on small and large scale. India’s growth potential of digital signage surpasses those in any other region within APAC. The possibilities of what can be achieved with digital engagement are truly limitless, but passing on the knowledge to new users looking to introduce digital is key to harnessing the region’s growth potential.
What challenges did you overcome till date, and what more have been left to win over in near future?
There a number of challenges that we faced in the region – lack of fundamental knowledge of the scope of digital offerings, mishandled solutions that have been brought to market and a drawn out implementation cycle are at the forefront of the issues. We faced sporadic bursts of digital signage ideas but unfortunately the core concepts of digital signage were missing. A number of local players unfortunately have been selling incorrect solutions within the market, which resulted in a chaotic digital signage industry in India. The sales cycle in India is a long-drawn process and has a tendency to be a tedious process. Our immediate wins would be to educate the market and bringing in new innovative technology to the country.
The industry is becoming much more organised in respect to the growth of retail and infrastructure industries. This growth has been fuelled by the increased need of advertising and brand management/promotion of MNC’s in the country and is providing a significant boost in the digital signage industry.
What is the size of country’s signage industry as of now? What is the split between digital and print signage?
A recent study has shown that the Indian digital signage market is projected to reach US $874 Million (according to 6W research). Due to the healthy growth of the advertising market in India it has recorded a CAGR of 7% between 2008 and 2015.
In a market like India it is very difficult to define the split between print and digital. Digital signage is still in its formative stage, and print media has been the key medium for marketing for a long period of time and hence at a very mature stage.
In India there are still many cases of hybrid marketing which takes place. If we look at tier 2/3 cities of India, print media platforms are still present in brand advertising and information dissemination. It’s of note that in regions such as the US, Stratacache is fostering growth not only in the adoption of digital solutions but also in the hybrid of online and physical in-store marketing, using digital solutions as the bridge to make it possible.
What are the pros and cons of digital signage? In which industries/sectors is digital printed signage getting greater acceptance?
Digital signage is an industry that is constantly growing and developing. Utilising digital signage in business allows marketers and innovators to showcase optimized, targeted content for the audience and it allows for a rich user experience to help inspire and influence customers. Across all industries and sectors, it can help increase brand awareness and – most importantly – its value. Digital solutions enable marketing- and customer-focused initiatives, helping our customers work better with and for their customers. Behind the scenes it can increase operational efficiency and morale in the workplace and up front we’ve seen it consistently increase sales in retail and QSR. Additionally, digital allows companies to engage with the younger generation the way they want to be engaged – via technology. It’s a market sector we certainly can’t ignore and we can help brands impress audiences with a memorable experience.
Many reasons why digital signage fails to reach its potential in a business is sometimes due to the lack of understanding, hence at Stratacache we really do believe in providing a solution. Our organisation’s key mantra is to really understand each of our client’s needs.
Our team ensures when they meet the clients that they sit down, understand and recommend the best solution for their business. I believe the digital wave has really dismissed categorising industries/sectors for digital signage. It is now the norm for businesses looking to grow rapidly and succeeding not only in their established country but across the globe to really invest in digital signage.
Who according to you is going digital? What are the factors behind?
The digital signage industry in India has just started to pick up its pace, so therefore large corporates and multi-nationals have either embraced or are in the process of embracing digital signage across their respective organisations. This can be seen in their brand management and corporate communication realms. The drive by the current Indian Government – Digital India has really helped and encouraged the concept and benefits of going digital across India. It is exciting time to hear from large and small enterprises who are keen to look at options of going digital and how Stratacache can help promote their business on various digital signage platforms.
Where do you see Indian digital signage and advertising market place in a couple of years from now?
The digital market in India is quite strong at the moment and there is a lot of potential for significant growth for businesses across the country. I only see this as an industry that will rapidly grow within the next couple of years. What is important is to ensure customers and clients are constantly educating themselves to always remain at the forefront of the technology. We’re approaching this by making sure we understand the full scope of the brand’s marketing challenges and opportunities and then apply a full-service delivery aspect and approach to the solution.