REVIEW DSS EUROPE 2019: THE TRENDSETTER FROM THE NORTH

The Digital Signage market in the Nordic countries – including Scandinavia and the Baltic states – is characterised by something of a special dynamic. The Nordic Panel at this year’s Digital Signage Summit Europe (DSSE) got to the bottom of it.

The Nordic market has been subject to many takeovers in recent years. Many companies that were founded in the region went on to become success stories in other EMEA countries. The full-service integrator Zeta Display from Sweden, for example, is the second largest integrator in Europe, ahead of Stratacache but behind Trison from Spain.

With revenues of €40 million, Zeta Display also ranks top of the largest Nordic integrators. The second-placed company, Visual Art, has shown breathtakingly fast growth. After €17.4 million in sales in 2017, it recorded double this figure in 2018 with a total of €34.8 million.

The two Swedish companies were, of course, represented on the podium of the Nordic Panel, which took place on the first day of DSS Europe 2019 under the title ‘The Nordic Panel – Trendsetter for Europe’s Digital Signage Market’. The panel was made up of Andreas Lind, CEO, Visual Art; Edma Dalipagic, General Manager, Nordics – NEC Display Solutions; Johan Lind, CEO, Vertiseit AB; Laila Hede Jensen, Vice President of Sales, Unilumin and Leif Liljebrunn, CEO, Zeta Display.

For Visual Art, regional expansion is still very much on the agenda, as reported by Andreas Lind. After the Swedish company gained a foothold in Germany, a number of important DooH shopping centre marketing contracts were added to its portfolio, with more reportedly to follow from the USA. What does Lind think about his company’s successes?

“We started as a production company and come originally from the content side,” said Lind. Thanks to customers such as McDonald’s, the company has seen rapid growth – and has been forced from the outset to consider the interests of the QSR provider beyond national markets. Going the extra mile to meet customer interests is very much built into the DNA of Lind’s company.

For Leif Liljebrunn, the internationalisation of his company began in a similar way: customers that were initially managed in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries went on to help indirectly with the company’s expansion. “When you look at a retail rollout in Sweden, we’re talking about maybe 100 stores. This might be seen as something of a big project in Sweden – but not in Germany.” For Liljebrunn, Lind and the rest of the panellists, the limited size of the regional DS markets is one reason why companies are rapidly becoming more internationalised.

Successful among the large Nordic players are companies offering their own content, or at least those well versed in its production. One such example is Vertiseit (represented by Johan Lind on the podium), a company with 55 employees and three offices in Sweden. Vertiseit puts a focus on the customer journey.

Visual Art has taken over the budgets for the Swedish retail chain ICA from two other integrators. Since winning this franchise, the company is now responsible for content in 700 Swedish stores, which can be broken down into four different store categories.

New to the industry is Edma Dalipagic. About 10 months ago, she started as General Manager for Nordics at NEC. Internationalisation is also an important topic for NEC on the manufacturer side. “For NEC and its customers, the three to five-year international warranty is important. We can guarantee quick replacements and repairs,” said Dalipagic.

There’s apparently something that could be called a cultural peculiarity in Scandinavia. Unilumin’s Laila Hede Jensen commented that the company she represents is not only successful because of the recent boom in LED. “People from northern European countries deliver high quality and are very involved. We want to do it better every time. We care, and that’s why we are pushing projects forward. And on top of that: we’re just nice people.”

The topic of software drives the innovative Nordic market participants as well as the rest of the industry. For Andreas Lind, who uses his own solution, software must orientate itself to the customer journey in order to be successful. Namesake Johan Lind expects that in five years, three to five large DS platforms will dominate the industry. Data-driven touchpoints at the PoS – which take into account that customers begin their customer experience on the sofa with a tablet – will become more important than they already are. Edma Dalipagic also sees more room for small, specialised solutions, given that there are still verticals that are less content-driven.