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Author Topic: Powered By...  (Read 20736 times)

criley

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2013, 04:20:36 PM »
This is good if you are having your own screen and selling ads. Selling as a digital signage solution for enterprise users is looking very difficult with this business model

Sounds like you may have found your new business model. First, I have been in the selling business for many years, both as the sales person and as the trainer of sales people. This industry and the situation found here is no different then any other product out there, when it comes to repurposing our existence. As technology advanced and the enduser grasps the concepts and learns more and more, we must repurpose ourselves if we want to stay in the game.

Look at Real Estate for example. 15 years ago, real estate agents held the key to their own listings and if you wanted to buy a property, you had to go through them. No more. The internet changed all of that. Now buyers and sellers think they can do it on their own, and they can to a point. Agents had to change their purpose and are now forced to rethink their value added benefit. And this will continue to evolve as must we all. The interesting thing is that there are fewer sellers selling their houses on their own then there were 15 years ago. More transactions are going through a professional agent then ever before. Instead of the agents finding the properties for their clients, now the clients are bringing the homes to the agents. There is a change right there. But that is not what the agent is getting paid for anymore. There are new responsibilities.

You need to do the same. I am not saying it is right for MS to market their product for free to the world while we try to sell it, but if they do not, others will, and currently do. There are plenty of free DS solutions out there. Most of you see the MS ads all over the place. Did you notice that you didn't see them before? The reason is that your computers and browsers are cached with their information. Same with Screenfeed. If you have been to their sites, your browsers and even the tracking software (malware) on your systems placed there by some unscrupulous people, tell the ad systems that these are of interest to you. Look at most of the ads out there, you actually have a choice as to what you want to see. It is not a coincidence. It is by design. So your prospective clients probably have not found MS or even know they exist.

You first need to think it through and figure out what business model you want to follow and then figure out why you should be the one that should be hired over the person who they are also looking at. There is a reason expensive DS solutions are till being sold today, where companies are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars. How do these companies outsell those who are offering it for cheap or even free? What makes them different? To the enduser, they simply provide a better value.

As far as comparing what the Enterprise user gets vs the free user, I would have to agree that it is a fine line as to what the value added benefit is between them. I too believe that there needs to be a greater barrier and incentive to going the Enterprise route, to include Components,  Support, Templates and even having a separate members only forum for the Enterprise users. Otherwise, we are just canabolizing ourselves, by giving away the "Secret Sauce" to those who are enjoying their systems for free and trying to compete against us. After all, we are the added value and now your end user who left you for the free product is enjoying the support that we are providing them.

Don't get me wrong, I love helping out anywhere I can, as you have seen on the forums and hope to continue to do so for many more moons.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 04:24:27 PM by criley »

ecolmar

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2013, 01:20:45 AM »
Hello Criley,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts : you are making a few points on which I am going to think...

And I also agree that there should be a bigger difference between Free users and Enterprise users as to what components and services are included.

Have a nice day !

ANOOP

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2013, 06:57:50 AM »
@Criley : I agree that we need to find value addition and this has to be in managing the content. Most of the organisations tend to make the initial content and changes for first few days or months and later they do not find it interesting or do not have the resources to do the same. This is where we should be pitching in. If the enterprise customers could get more features on animations, content creation techniques ( cant learn flash and flex anymore)

ecolmar

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2013, 07:09:55 AM »
Hello Criley,

I am sorry, but I've just had a conversation with Ron (Live Chat), and it seems your speech does not match the reality of the situation.
Basically what you say (and correct me if I am wrong) is that : times are changing and I have to re-think the way I do business by considering where I can produce value, saying that the value I will create will not come from the reselling of MS software but on all the services I can provide around the software.

The theory sounds good, but here is the real situation.

I would like to buy the mediaServer, and then consequently buy the Players' licences; Therefore paying a lot of money, regularly, to MS so they can develop more and more new features.

But then I am told that if I have my own mediaServer, my future clients cannot access Shared Resource, and they cannot access Scene templates (Import Scene as it is called in Studio).
Ok then, no problem : I will build my own Sceces which I will share with my clients, and I will create my own Shared Resources which I will also share with my clients. Therefore I found a way to "create value" and sell that value. Great !!

Well : do you think that's possible ?...No, it is NOT possible ! That's what I've just been told.

So tell me Criley : what's left for me to create value with MediaSignage ?...

MediaSignage distributes its software for Free to end users;
Enterprise users can pay for having just a little more than Free users, and we have to believe a story about White-Labeling which is a pure lie : there is no such thing as White-Labeling with MediaSignage (there are now enough posts on this subject to prove it);
And if Enterprise users want to have real White-Labeling, then they have to buy the mediaServer, because only then can they use their own URLs with their company name in it...
Investing in mediaServer will cost me about $ 900 + $ 200/licence + $ 40/licence/year
And then I realise that I will get even less functions then the end-user which will get its Studio and Player for FREE !!!
And I realise that I will not even be able to create value with this software because it is just not possible !


I mean what the hell : this is nonsense...

What kind of value creation where you talking about Criley ?

I could sell hosting services : but I am not a hosting company.
I could sell IT maintenance : but I am not an IT company.
I could sell software developments : but I am not a software company.

I am a Digital Signage company; I would like to be able to make money by reselling a Digital Signage software suite, and also make money buy selling lots of other services around program creation and management.
All we ask from MS is that they stick to their business : develop a Digital Signage software and make sure they are always time to market, creating new features, making their system work on all the main OS, making sure the translations in other languages are profesional translations (the French translation is just bullsh... !), bringing technical and sale's support to all of us Enterprise Users who are MS distributors around the World, and who spend a lot of time and money reselling MS product !!

This is a simple and straight-forward industrial situation : nothing new here.
There is a company producing industrial goods (MS), and there are companies distributing these goods (the Enterprise users).
Everything starts going wild when the manufacturing company (MS) decides to sell directly to end users ! And I am not even talking about giving the goods away for Free !! I mean, this is a typical MBA Case Study !!
If the manufacturing company wants to do that, then it has to respect its distributors, and not trample on them.
There has to be Official Prices, and distributor margins, based on quantities sold, and all kinds of stuff like that.

I am really pissed off : because the product is great, but I just can't see how to earn money with it.

We need MS Management to think about all that and come back to us with real answers, and not answers like I got from Ron (who is a very helpful person) : "Why the mediaServer does not include Shared Resources ?" , "Because it's a mediaCloud feature"...
This kind of answer is NOT helpful, but I guess Ron gave me all he got, and he can't event explanations he doesn't have...

I am curious to read feedbacks on this post from MS Management, but also from other Enterprise users.

Thanks you for the effort you made reading all this :-)

criley

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2013, 09:07:27 AM »
I am sorry you feel that way ecolmar, and you are certainly entitled to your own opinion. I can also see that you are upset and from the looks of it, wrote this email while you were still "pissed" instead of thinking it through. If you reread whet you posted, you will see that you have just proved my point in my last post.

1) Figure out your business model and see if it is viable.
2) Figure out how you can accomplish your goals with this business model.

READ THIS DISCLAIMER CAREFULLY MULTIPLE TIMES: I do not work for or represent MS in any way or fashion. I do not know their full history or what their business model is currently or was when they got started. I am an end user just like you who enjoys helping others when I can. Most comments I will be making are just assumptions and only MS representatives can confirm or deny.

Did you read the last paragraph?

I am not sure if MS had planned on building their business model on building a white labeled content management system for us to start our own business and sell their software. My best guess is that they built their own system and were selling it and then either concurrently or at a later date, chose to allow others to sell their product and called them resellers. As a reseller you have a few options to get compensated. Two of those are either by receiving a % back from the revenue generated or just have the reseller purchase at a reduced price and they can resell it at a marked up price based on what margin they want and can get. MS had a reseller program to where you pay $99 and you could sell it for what ever you felt like. People loved it, but then some had the wish list of a white labeled version where they asked for things piece by piece and eventually we have the Enterprise version that we have today. They still change things every so often based on our suggestions. So the white labeled version came to us as a value added benefit for us from MS that we can use or not use. Again it is just an extra bonus should we decide to use it. Remember very few companies out there ever allow someone to resell their product and change the name to make people think they are the creators of it. Does Coke or Pepsi allow their vendors change the name to what ever they want? No.

How have you been hurt by this? Did they have something and take it away from you after you built your business model around what they are selling you? If that is the case, then yes, you have a valid argument. But you are complaining about something they do not have as of yet, so you can't be hurt by it.

As for the Shared Resources, make your own like you said, but NOT with the scene editor. Why? The scene editor is basic and relies too much on MS to be fully reliable. If you have not, either go learn Flash, Flex, or Javascript and build your own resources/scene with those or better yet, hire a programmer to build them for you and resell those to you clients. Currently my business model does not have any of my clients have access to the content manager. They pay a fee for the Digital Signage system but they do not own the software, just a license for the service. Eventually I would love to see the Ad Manager come back because that is a huge part of my business model and it was taken away (Imaging how pissed I was). I treat the system like a cable company. My players are "Cable/converter boxes" and I provide the content to their screens. I am the keeper of the information that they desire and provide it to them in a way that they want and need. Can you open and access the software on your cable boxes that you rent from your TV provider?

I would love to see so many more features added and changed in the system, but I also realize that I, as well as the rest of us Users, have absolutely no business dictating how MS or any other company runs their business. How would you feel if you had clients telling you how you had to do your job.

As far as MediaSignage distributing their software for FREE, that is their prerogative. Again, I do feel Enterprise Users should get more bang for their buck as I said in my last post. If you have been in the business for awhile, you will also know that most screen providers, provide their own content manager software for free too. So are you now upset at them for competing with you by providing your customers with a free content manager solution too?

Also, just so you know, it is not as easy as turning on a switch when you want a component to work. This platform also relies on other software and hardware vendors. If they change something on their end that is not compatible with the current version of the MS software, then there is nothing MS can do about it, unless they change directions and build a proprietary system that only works with particular hardware systems and their own software. But then it would not be free or affordable for most of MS's users.

I am not sure why you are trying to go the server route, but everyone has their reasons. Most are for security purposes or even to comply with regulations based on the industry it is used for. As for you being a Digital Signage Company, rethink your strategy as far as your business model and what services and products you will provide and be ready to change when it is needed. Newspapers and other printing companies who took the stance  and felt they were "Newspaper Companies" either quickly realized that they needed to change their stance or they were out of the business.

The Digital Signage Age has yet to be declared and we are only at the forefront of a prospering business opportunity. What you do with it is ultimately up to you.

Cheers!

actnowguy

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2013, 09:54:30 AM »
 :'(I am really pissed off : because the product is great, but I just can't see how to earn money with it......

This seems to be the sentiment for a lot because of various situations, whether in New or Old business...Bottom line is we pay monthly and we want more for our dollar...
The alternative is pay the big money for Name Brand service?
This seems to be the only alternative that is a low monthly fee for the customer and the owner...



cloud

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2013, 10:56:03 AM »
It's a very complicated situation.

I think if the customer discover that you is a direct reseler is worse than if he in future search "digital signage solution free" in google and find the digitalsignage.com website.

ecolmar

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2013, 01:14:02 AM »
Hello Criley,

Thanks for not "closing the door" on me : I can be very hot-blooded sometimes, but nothing personal of course ! And I find this discussion vital for the future of MS and our relation with MS as a reseller.

I have taken my time to think about what you wrote, and all I can deduct from what I read is that I believe you are off topic.

I am not making a point about Digital Signage Business Models : I agree with most of the points you are highlighting on this subject.
We have been in this business for the past 10 years, so we have been in the business for a while...:-); We have developped our own software until 2011, with which we are managing content for several hundreds of Players and more than a thousand screens; About 25% of our annual turnover comes from selling content creation and management.
And we have been living on this business model since the begining...

So you see, we could even say we are precursors ! :-)

I'll use your examples to try and explain what point I am trying to make.

Of course, you cannot resell Coke or Pepsi with your own names...but the good thing about Coke or Pepsi is that their strategy is clear, their business model too, and everything they do is consistent with that strategy and business model...
In particular, they don't sell their Coke or Pepsi bottles to vendors, while giving them away for free to end customers..., do they ?!
To be more specific, they have NO DIRECT CONTACT with end customers apart from spending millions on commercial adds.
They do not mix up business : they are not into the Vendors' business, and their Vendors are not into Pepsi or Coke industrial business.
This is not the case with MS...MS is dangerously stepping on the Vendors' yards with a very contradictory distribution strategy...
And by the way, why chosing Pepsi or Coke to illustrate white-labelling distribution strategy ? I didn't really get that...
To illustrate white-labelling distribution strategy, you could have taken one of the many brands selling food for exemple : the food business gives good case studies of white-labelling distribution strategies.

Then you are comparing with screen providers, and here again, you are not making the good comparaison...
I have no reason to be pissed at Samsung because he is giving away his MagicInfo DS software for free (they say...).
But I would really be pissed at Samsung if they would start giving away their screens for free to end users, while selling their screens to us Resellers !!
And this is exactly what MS is doing, and this is why I am pissed off; And the fact that the Studio is such a good software makes me even more pissed off !!

You are asking why I would want to have my own Media Server ? I guess that reading the above makes the answer is obvious now : I need to have my own Media Server so that my clilents don't see I am selling a DS tool which they can get for free !!
And before you ask the question, I'll tell you why selling the software IS NOT contradictory with a business model based on Content Creation and Management : this is because more and more clients want to have control on part of the content, or want to give "local" control to their sites to part of the content.
They want a "Global" content displayed on every screen + a "Local" content created and managed by each site.
And the only way to do that is to give them partial access to the Studio.

And we all know that if a Reseller gives access to the Studio in its Cloud version, then he loses his client !! There is no way you can avoid that, it is just a matter of how long it will take...

I hope I have made myself a bit more clear.

Best Regards

criley

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #38 on: May 02, 2013, 08:03:13 AM »
ecolmar,

I do respect your opinion and understand your concerns and maybe even share in some part of it. Otherwise, I do not think I am the one who is of topic here. I am simply trying to help give you direction if you choose to listen. We all should be grateful that MS has allowed us to resell their system and without much in the way of boundaries as to what we can do with it or use of their materials. When I started using MS, I know from day one that they offered a free version of the software. There were no surprises there and so I cannot be upset now for something I have always known was there. Sure I remember spending my first $99 to upgrade to Enterprise just to see that there was not much of a difference between the free and the Enterprise version. OK, that hurt a little, well a lot, but I continued to pay and I am still using the Enterprise version today. Why, because it gives me a bit more control over what I am doing that other vendors such as SCALA do not have or are very cost prohibitive.

I ask about the Server because it was my understanding that the only difference was that your data is now secure behind your own firewall and that the layout and content was exactly the same as the Enterprise version without some of the extra perks. As far as anyone ever being able to correlate my studio with MS, I am not sure how one would go about that unless they recognize the physical layout of the system. Nothing on my system mentions MediaSignage or even hints at it that I can see. Maybe that is where I am missing it.

Why I brought up Coke and Pepsi, I don't know. I was looking for any other company that allows others to resell their product. Maybe I should have referenced another company like SCALA. Sure their strategy is clear, and I see no clouding of MS's strategy. They are here to make money like the rest of us and have graciously allowed us to do that with a model that gives us a much larger profit  margin to play with. I suppose that they could go back and have only one model and that is to no longer allow us to market their system and remove all white labeling. But again, what is stopping you from selling the system, white labeled or not, for only $50 or even $75 per month? You are still giving your clients a few more components then what they would get for free and they are saving $50/month. Now why would they go to MS and pay $99/month when they can get it from you for only $50? This is why I think that there needs to be a great deal more perks for Enterprise users then the Free ones. Free users do not get the Emergency Alert component or the RemoteTouch component or XML, but they can from you for Free, $50/month or what ever you want to charge them. It is your choice.

I was only comparing Screen providers and Player providers because typically when you sell a Digital Signage system, there are also screens and players involved. So if your client was to buy a NEC monitor, then they would know that they are including a free Content Management system. Why do they need yours? And the player hardware from Brightsign also includes a free version of a Content Management system. Wow, now they have two free CMS's and are paying for yours.

My only point is that we need to make it a simple decision for our clients to buy from us, because they too are smart enough to piece together a system on their own. They just do not want to manage it. It is not much different from a website. Our business is in service and the reselling of products such as hardware and software is ancillary whether we like it or not. Soon with the smart TVs, they will all come prepackaged in one unit that all our customers have to do is hang it on the wall. with SASS, the end user or a management service will take care of the rest. Where will you be then? It's right around the corner. So, be the Visionary for your clients and let's build the Digital Signage Age together, rather then watch it go right by us.

Chris

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #39 on: May 02, 2013, 08:30:36 PM »
thanks for the feedback criley,

Sean.

KRob

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2013, 07:35:49 AM »
There's a lot being said here...

but what I still fail to understand...after reading all of this...... is how the free users get things the paying customers don't.  Seems like a pretty simple thing, right?

I'm a server customer. I want access to the shared resources I had before becoming a server customer.  When I ask for it from the tech support, the only answer I'm given is:  Create a free account, then download them.

Seriously?  I'm paying you $ for the server, $ for the players, and $ EVERY YEAR for the licenses.... and the free customers get something I don't?   

That. makes. no. sense.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 07:37:33 AM by KRob »

ecolmar

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #41 on: May 10, 2013, 05:55:27 AM »
Ok Chris, I think we've gone as far as we could on this subject, and our opinions don't seem to overlap 100%...! Not a problem though.

Just one last thing : there are a few places where MediaSignage appears directly or indirectly. Most important places are :
  • When you install Studio on a PC : at some point the Editor appears, which is quite normal, but considering the rest of the discussin, it is problematic
  • In some of the video tutorials
  • In the URL of SIgnageStudio web access : if you Google search on "qalaxy.signage.me" you end-up in one clik on the digitalsignage.com web site
Last, I am going to open another post because, as a French Enterprise user, there are some things I am not fully satisfied with. And I also have a few questions concerning assesments made in the "Features and benefits" page (http://www.dgitalsignage.com/_html/benefits.html)

Thanks again for sharing your point of view. Hope to get some help in my next post !

Cheers

MichaelMMM

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2014, 06:15:25 PM »
Whilst this topic appears to be "hibernating", I'm sure there may be other resellers who have more recent experience on the efficacy of this "white label" product and whether there continues to be a problem with end-users "jumping" the reseller and going direct to MS.
Do these problems persist?
We are on the cusp of an important decision, and I certainly don't want to launch a "white label" product only to find that it aint!
Thanks

ANOOP

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2014, 09:56:20 PM »
This topic was old but the problem is always there of customers ready to bypass you if they dont find value add. Meanwhile lot of water has flown with the introduction of studio lite, you could always look at the opensource model .

MichaelMMM

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Re: Powered By...
« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2014, 10:43:00 PM »
Thanks Anoop.
I'm not sure that "value-add" is the issue. I think the issue is more a question of whether there are still  "holes" in the white label interface that make it easy for end-users to by-pass the reseller. 
Are there holes? Has anyone "listed" them.
I know that there are a few posts exposing some.

I don't want to get into the add value debate because (imo) the savings by end-user from NOT paying reseller any fees (i.e. going direct to MS) can often easily address any added value reseller may deliver. Especially where there are tens/ hundreds of players involved. The issue of White-Label-Efficacy is therefore critical (IMO)

The Studio Lite appears to be quite ... light. But I will look at it. Thanks for your input.

 

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