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3M launches digital signage brand and centre of excellence

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | July 14, 2008
The centre of excellence, for the first time, provides clients with an opportunity to test digital signage software before finalising the platform. It enables customers to understand, evaluate and put together the various pieces of the digital signage puzzle

3M's & #BANNER1 & # commercial graphics division has launched the Digital Signage Centre of Excellence at the 3M Innovation Centre in Bengaluru. This is a one stop shop for digital signage and will display and demonstrate a wide range of innovative solutions to customers.

The centre of excellence, for the first time, provides clients with an opportunity to test digital signage software before finalising the platform. It enables customers to understand, evaluate and put together the various pieces of the digital signage puzzle.

Debasish Gupta, general manager, commercial graphics division, 3M, says, "3M Commercial Graphics operates in the identity, promotions and retail ambience space. We are solution providers to brand and marketing managers, printers and design agencies. We are seeing a shift in the advertising spends of companies. People are more serious about OOH media and 3M Digital Signage is positioned in this segment. Studies have shown that dynamic forms of communication have more eye-catching power and digital signage will be a preferred medium in the future."

Prabhu Venkatesh, business manager, commercials graphics division, 3M, adds, "With more than 50,000 screens to be installed over the next 18 months, India is a huge market for digital signage. The plethora of available solutions makes it a difficult choice for customers." He says that the 3M centre of excellence will help customers understand and evaluate the best digital signage solutions for their requirements. It offers complete end to end digital signage networks. These include the software and technology platforms, hardware, installation and implementation, content creation and network management.

Digital signage can take various forms, from small LCDs powered by DVD players to large outdoor LED boards. Currently, digital signage in India is powered largely by stand-alone media players, but there is a growing market for software network based installations which allow the flexibility and power to manage multiple locations from a single network operations centre.

Gupta says, "The 3M Digital Signage software helps customers beam and control customised content from a central network operating centre. This was amply demonstrated when we were selected to run 102 screens installed at all the railway stations in Bengaluru."

He adds that 3M is probably the only global player which has a permanent lab and development centre in India. Most other international players have taken the reseller route. Gupta says, "We believe that our local customisation capabilities are an advantage and allow us to address the customer's unique needs and provide tailor-made solutions."

A digital signage system can be used in any application where there is a requirement for information dissemination, such as corporate communications (reception areas), public messaging systems (airports and railway stations) and visual merchandising (malls and shopping complexes).

Gupta says, "Advertising using digital signage scores over conventional forms of advertisement in several ways. For one, it has stopping power. Using full motion video and animated clips attracts more eyeballs than static advertising. There are considerable cost savings because it eliminates the need to print and distribute static signs every time there is a change in the message or campaign. Again, digital signage is time saving. Since content can be changed instantaneously, there is reduced lead time from message creation to dissemination. One can reach a precisely defined audience, change messages easily and immediately, increase sales and brand loyalty as dynamic content commands attention, maximise the value of each sign (one sign, many messages) and ensure message compliance, i.e., proof of execution."

3M's customers include companies in OOH media, the hospitality sector, mass transportation such as airports and railways stations, petroleum retail outlets and quick service restaurants. 3M has worked with leading media companies to offer customised digital time-table solutions for the Indian Railways and a GPS/ GPRS based digital signage solution that is currently being rolled out in buses. More than 2,000 screens powered by 3M have been put up at airports, malls, railway stations, corporate receptions, bus terminals and retail outlets.

3M India has been in India for 20 years and markets about 3,000 products. It holds leading positions in health care, industrial markets, display and graphics, consumer and office, safety, security and protection services, electronics and communications, and transportation.

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