Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

PODCASTS

NEW EPISODES EVERY TUESDAY
WITH PRACTICAL TIPS, ADVICE AND BEST PRACTICES.
Learn More
Sixteen:Nine - news from the digital signage industry

Sixteen:Nine: Visix Stands Out from the Digital Signage Software Pack

Sean Matthews managed to break away from booth set-up at Digital Signage Expo – well, actually he was probably happy as a clam to get away from the noise and bustle – to sit down with Sixteen:Nine and talk about Visix, the Atlanta-based CMS software company he’s run for many years.

While many of his software competitors have been all over the place chasing whatever vertical presented an opportunity, Matthews has pretty steadfastly kept Visix focused on a couple of key vertical markets – higher education and workplaces. There are more than 1,000 Visix systems operating on college and university campuses.

We had a wide-ranging talk outside the North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and you’ll probably pick up some of the bustle ahead of the show opening. Matthews gets into the roots of Visix, what’s worked for the company, and where things are going.

Listen to the Podcast

SIXTEEN:NINE is an online news and analysis publication focused on the digital signage industry – vendors and end-users. We filter the BS. We ignore most press releases. We celebrate great work. And we point out stupidity. There are 6,600+ articles here, and the count grows daily. Tracing back to early 2006, 16:9 is in many ways a running history of the digital signage industry. Founding Editor Dave Haynes has built and run companies in this business, and he’s consulted for scores of companies. In other words, he knows his stuff.

David Haynes, founder and editor of Sixteen:NineDave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 12 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Transcript

Dave Haynes: Sean, thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day setting up for DSE. I’m sure things are mayhem back there.

Sean Matthews: Thanks, Dave. You know, like most shows, it always comes down to the last minute, and we had a box that failed in transit, so now we’re flying somebody else out with a new box. So, nothing like the last-minute trade show follies.

Dave Haynes: You can’t do FedEx for that, right?

Sean Matthews: Yeah. We would love to ship that box that way, but it’s just not one of those video wall controllers that you want to just dump in a UPS box for sure.

Dave Haynes: No, you want them to show up and know who it is and everything else, right?

Sean Matthews: Yeah. Most definitely.

Dave Haynes: How many years have you been at DSE?

Sean Matthews: So, I think this is either our 10th or 11th year. I don’t think we were at the very first one. I think we missed that one. But we’ve been here ever since. It’s a good show for us, primarily because integration partners are here, and it’s an opportunity to meet with those guys and discuss what we’re doing. They like to really compare and contrast our software at this event compared to others because a lot of events, there might only be one other guy there, and there’s not a real good comparison. So, this works out.

Dave Haynes: I think about these very focused events, whether it’s education or whatever, and being the only quote unquote pretty girl at the dance, it would be a nice thing. But you’re saying it’s actually useful to have competitors around so they can see, okay, your stuff is better or different or whatever.

Sean Matthews: Yeah. I mean, it really is. I mean, I guess early on in this process, I really didn’t enjoy being down the hall from Four Winds or someone like that. But the reality is…(Dave Haynes: they’re noisy and roughing it)…Yeah, the reality is though, that they do some things very well and we do the same. And so, it’s a great opportunity for an integrator to come in and say, “Hey man, I saw that they’re doing A, B, and C, what are you doing?” And that’s an opportunity for us to talk about our A, B, and C.

Normally at bigger events where there’s a lot of other hardware stuff going on around us, we don’t quite have the ability to compare and contrast because a lot of these guys don’t go to some of those events. So, this is a good one for us.

Dave Haynes: But you do focused events as well, like other kinds of trade shows that nobody else is at? None of your competitors, I mean.

Sean Matthews: We do. EDUCAUSE is a good one because we do a lot of work in the higher ed space. And so that’s one event where occasionally we might have one competitor there. But in general, that’s an event that we are the “pretty girl” for sure.

Dave Haynes: How do you guys describe yourself? I think of you guys as a digital signage CMS software company focused on education primarily and corporate communications. Is that fair?

Sean Matthews: That’s a good approach. We view ourselves as a visual communications company, and our main objective is to help people communicate better. And that’s really it. So, from our perspective, it’s not really about the customer experience or things that you might hear in the retail space. It’s really about employee engagement, student engagement, even visitor engagement, but not really a retail-type focus.

Dave Haynes: How do you define engagement? It’s one of those terms that gets used a lot and, arguably, abused a lot?

Sean Matthews: We define engagement as participation. So, if an organization is looking to increase participation in any sort of corporate or campus event, we view ourselves as providing a vehicle that helps them communicate information about that event, thus increasing participation. And that’s really one of the key ROIs in our space is – do more people become involved in an activity or an event because they saw or heard about it as a result of this medium?

Dave Haynes: Which is a better metric, I think, than, what I often hear about engagement is you have to have an interactive screen, and you have to have people touching it and using it all out for that to be a quote unquote an engagement, which I think is bullshit.

Sean Matthews: Yeah. I think that we’ve tried all of that. I mean, we even talk about interactivity. It’s built into our design tool and you know, we encourage people to create a personal digital signage experience. But the reality is, when we sit and watch students at a university and really focus on what they’re doing with the sign – most of them are just looking, you know? And half the time they’re passing by. It’s very similar to what you see on the interstate with a billboard. So, we can tout that sort of personal engagement and that personal experience with those signs. But the reality is that most people pass by and they get a little piece of what you’re hoping to feed them. And that’s really success.

Dave Haynes: They’re going to use interactive if it’s easier than doing it on their phone. Because they’ve got to drill down and drill down and drill down on their tiny little screen. But if it’s just the same thing that they can get on their phone, why would they?

Sean Matthews: Yeah, you’re right. I mean, in fact, we’ve had this discussion with a lot of universities. People always ask, how come you don’t have an app? Any university will tell you you’re not going to get kids to download an app, particularly an app that’s for the food services at a college campus. They might drill into a menu because they want to know how many calories are in the cheeseburger or something like that. But they’re not going to download an app to determine how many calories are in a particular cheeseburger.

Dave Haynes: So how long has the company been around?

Sean Matthews: We’ve been around 30 plus years now.

Dave Haynes: Really?

Sean Matthews: Yeah. And so, it originally was founded as a company called Tech Electronics. And it grew out of the closet of an AV integration firm called Technical Industries. And Technical Industries was sold to MCSi back in the roll up days. That became Technical Innovation which is now Diversified. So that is the history of those businesses. So, Tech Electronics originally was founded to create little black boxes, very similar to what Extron does, because the integrator was running into situations where boxes didn’t exist to act as IOs between certain devices. And that’s how the company got started.

Dave Haynes: And how did you end up doing software instead?

Sean Matthews: So, it’s an interesting little tidbit here. Back in like 1999, two guys that worked for Tightrope, which were the original founders of Tightrope, Andrew and JJ, they created this web interface for doing media management systems in k-12 schools starting and stopping the playback of VCRs. Back in the day.

So that’s when we first got exposed to this. And, in fact, we were licensing that user interface because we had a media retrieval control system with a really poor UI. They had created this web UI. So, we ultimately bought the rights to that original product. And then we morphed that interface to become basically a CMS for digital signage back in the early 2000s.

Dave Haynes: And this was based on end-user demand. You could see it there, or were you hoping there was an industry that was going to break out?

Sean Matthews: I think we were hoping; you know. We were really thinking that the user interface would be more of a character generator for producing basic slides. It would be spread out through the k-12 school, and it would just be another source in this library of VCRs, this bank of VCRs. But, of course, the digital technology came along very quickly, and those devices became obsolete. And then we had to transform that experience to create more elaborate visuals that could be better distributed with other endpoints versus just a cable TV important.

Dave Haynes: And so that was education, and you’ve kind of always stayed in education, right?

Sean Matthews: We have. One of the reasons we’ve been committed to the education spaces – we rely heavily on an AV integration channel, and those VARs sell into the higher ed space and the corporate campus space. And so, it’s natural for them to carry signage into those environments where they’re already building out classrooms or conference rooms.

Dave Haynes: So, most of your business is based around the channel?

Sean Matthews: That’s correct, yes.

Dave Haynes: So, you spend your time educating your resellers as opposed to going direct.

Sean Matthews: Yeah, we have about 70 integrators in the United States that do $20,000 or $30,000 or more. So, that’s sort of what we count as an integrator – someone that’s doing at least $20,000 worth of business with us,

Dave Haynes: Primarily higher ed?

Sean Matthews: No, it’s a good mix. Actually, corporate campus the past two years has grown at a faster rate than higher ed. There are about 5,700 universities in the United States. And then, of course, there are many more corporate campuses, even if you just take smaller businesses, 500 employees, and medium size businesses. So, the corporate campus space has definitely blown up because there’s a lot of saturation in higher ed. The reality is almost every university has some sort of digital signage on campus.

Dave Haynes: Yeah. And it’s full of people who think they can build it themselves, or want open source.

Sean Matthews: That’s correct. And, in fact, we have Georgia Tech right down the road from us, and every year they come to us and say, “Hey, we want to do something.” And every year they try to build something from scratch.

Dave Haynes: At some point they’re going to give up.

Sean Matthews: I hope so. I’ll be glad to stand there and go, “Okay, it’s already written. Just deploy it.”

Dave Haynes: “This is…focus on some other things guys, and just let us do this.” And, on the corporate comms side, is the translation between higher ed and corp comms, in terms of what you’re doing, is it quite similar or different demands?

Sean Matthews: Yeah, the workflows are similar, because you typically have either some sort of corporate or campus communication person involved. But a lot of times you have administrative assistants and even interns in either vertical market, you know, responsible for uploading and managing the delivery of content to screens. But the end result is that employers are much more concerned about true employee engagement and productivity and involvement really than you would see on the college campus. Because the college campus, of course, the demographic is different, and there’s a lot of social media that affects attendance and participation much more so than you see on the corporate side. So, the corporate guys really struggle with vehicles to try to deliver information and improve engagement productivity.

Dave Haynes: And over the years, how have you seen all this evolve in terms of what they’re doing? I think of corp comms 10 years ago telling people that the blood drive’s on Thursday or you know, that sort of thing. And now we’re talking about ingesting data from working machinery and different systems and Salesforce and everything else. It’s much more data driven.

Sean Matthews: Yeah, it is. I mean you’re, you’re spot on. The data piece of it is extremely important, and we’ve evolved to be better in sort of the data adaption and the visualization component of what corporate people are looking to see on screen. But that is, it is a key factor. They are trying to affect human behavior in terms of productivity. And it doesn’t matter if the number of calls on the help desk are this high and therefore the number is red versus green. It helps people understand when they should take breaks, when they shouldn’t take breaks, when they should really apply a lot of effort versus kind of coast along. And you know, that’s one piece of it.

Another piece that we’re seeing too is facility utilization. More and more organizations are going to these open spaces and they have more transient employees that do not have dedicated spaces. So, in a big corporate campus, the displays are often used to point people in the direction of where seats are available. They’re using heat maps to help determine where people are, so that if you’re looking for a quiet space, you look at the heat map and you don’t really want to go towards the campus Starbucks, you want to go somewhere else. If you’re going to, you know, work on a podcast or something like that.

So, the facilities people are really taking advantage of these displays because, if you think about even the app question that often comes up, employees don’t really want to have an app that tracks where they are and where they’re going to be and what room that they’re in. So, employees are even less likely to download an app when they can just walk past the screen and see, hey, this space is available.

Dave Haynes: I guess, you know, I’ve heard this before. The thing about driving utilization, and the real ROI there is you might be able to reduce your leased footprint by 10% or something like that because you know how many desks you really need versus what you think. And at 65 bucks a square foot or something, it’s real savings really quickly.

Sean Matthews: Yeah. And actually there are two pieces of that. You want to reduce the physical footprint because you don’t want the cost associated with even heating and cooling the space. But also, there are technological investments that you may or may not want to make, based on who’s using what types of rooms. And so, most of that – showing, visualizing availability –  is one thing. Of course, tracking who’s using what in those rooms really moves over to the room management side of things where there are a lot of event management platforms, and we just ended up being the visualization piece of that event management. And those tools are really helping facilities managers and IT people understand why certain people are only using certain rooms and these other rooms aren’t being utilized. It may have the greatest video teleconferencing equipment in it, but no one’s using it. It may be very complex for whatever reason or there’s just not enough demand for that type of technology on that campus, period.

Dave Haynes: Right. You guys were pretty early in on meeting room signs and that whole thing. That goes back like six, seven years, right?

Sean Matthews: It does. And part of the reason that we even got involved in that is, to this day, the most popular visualization are events schedules on displays in corporate and also college campuses. People want to know what’s going on, at what time and where it is. It is very, very powerful. In fact, it goes back to the student unions a decade ago. All they wanted to show was event management information. And so, the room sign, it was just simply an extension of that event schedule down to the conference room or classroom. And that’s how we got involved.

Dave Haynes: And has it evolved into….? I guess I’m curious. I use the term “gateway drug” to describe meeting room signs. For a digital signage company, it’s a great way to get to initiate business with an end user. They may start with meeting room signs, but they’re happy with that and they start asking about “What about directories? Could you do this? Could you do that? Could you put screens here and there?” Are you seeing that happen?

Sean Matthews: That’s a great question because we really thought that would be a natural transition. And for integrators it is, because they’re already doing work inside of the conference rooms. So, it’s easy to just step out and go to the wall, and then even go further down the hallway with the larger event directories. But, if you take just an organic lead, Google lead for us, someone who is interested in just room signs, that’s all they’re interested in. They don’t even want to hear the conversation about digital signage. Despite all of our efforts to try to grow that conversation. They get very focused just on room signs, and there’s very little desire to expand beyond just the room signs. So, it’s strange. We don’t feel like the two transition as well as we thought. It’s either one or the other, typically.

Dave Haynes: So, the theory that you’ve got a foot in the door is a good theory, but maybe not showing itself in real life.

Sean Matthews: It really is. And I often think about players like Crestron in this space who do a lot of that elaborate design work. And, of course they have expensive but really productive room management tools, but they’re not doing anything in the digital signage realm. And I do think that there’s probably good reason that, beyond their partnerships that they have with a couple of cloud guys, that they’re not really pursuing that space because they could easily go after it if they wanted to. But I think there’s a realization that having your foot in the door doesn’t really parlay into true digital signage. Similar to what AMX/Harman has done, and they’ve not been overly successful, you know, on the signing side.

Dave Haynes: Yeah. And now there’s not like a whole bunch of pure played meeting room sign guys out there.

Sean Matthews: It’s everywhere. It really is. I mean, we’ve got guys all around the world getting into that space.

Dave Haynes: Yeah. In line with that, you were also really, really early using electronic ink displays. What’s been your experience with that? And I know recently you… I think your first versions were not E Ink, but now you’ve got some sort of a partnership or integration with E Ink displays, right? 

Sean Matthews: Yeah, we do. We use the true licensed E Ink product. We do source it from another industry because going and producing those signs is very expensive, if you were to go, and the volumes that you have to produce. So, we do license it from basically a different industry and port it over. And our real value is the data integration between the event management systems and producing the templates that ended up on the screens.

What’s been most effective about them is that they are very cost effective – basically less than $300 per door. And you can fully customize the faceplates to match the architectural design in the building. They’ve been very, very well received, particularly in the college and university space because it’s not inexpensive to put, you know, fully interactive room signs on every door. But if all you’re doing is delivering the event schedule, and you’re tired of printing the exchange calendar and sticking it in the little plastic slider, it’s a very cost-effective way to go. It doesn’t produce a ton of money for us in terms of just cash volume because they’re very inexpensive. But that is one product that does parlay into other parts of the campus and in continuing digital signage, different than the room signs that have the LEDs and everything. 

Dave Haynes: So, you’ve been at it for a long time. I’m curious. A lot of things have happened in this industry, and there’s been a lot of fuss about this and that and, you know, cloud came along. Different types of displays came along. Everybody got excited about certain things, and then some of it stuck, some of it didn’t. What have you seen that you think has really made a difference? I don’t believe you guys do cloud enterprise, right? 

Sean Matthews: We do. We have a cloud option. And that’s been one thing that we have to slowly migrate to because, if you’re a premise company and you’re doing perpetual licenses, to migrate to cloud can be tough financially because, you know, you basically divide your revenues in a third because you’re going to have to recapitalize every 36 months. So, we offer cloud, we don’t push it as much. And one reason we don’t push it as much as a lot of other guys is because in the higher ed space, very few of them, unless it’s mission critical, are interested in the cloud solution because their budgets are tied to tax revenues and other things. And so, often they have a cap x budget that is much more reliable than the op ex budget, and they’re not sure that they can have, you know, $20,000 every year for the next three years kind of thing. 

So, we still offer the on-premise stuff and, of course, it can be sold as perpetual or subscription. But, the cloud experience everybody talks about (and if you’d talked to VC guys or any equity partners, that’s all they want to talk about), the reality is that there are a lot of customers – and we have customers like the Federal Reserve Bank – they’re never going to go to some sort of cloud product. There’s a lot of government entities that just won’t do it, or they’re going to wait as long as they possibly can until that technology further evolves. So, you know, cloud is one of those things that’s often talked about, but you know, we don’t lose any sleep over not being a pure cloud product. 

Dave Haynes: Yeah. I guess for every potential end-user that says it’s got to be cloud, there’s all kinds of very attractive end-users who would just be a hard no on anything but enterprise. 

Sean Matthews: Yeah. And that’s true. Day in and day out, we run into that. You know, I think that one thing that I believe has stuck really well. You know, people used to talk about content is king and there was always that discussion. But I do believe that the visual quality of the content today versus five years ago, it is night and day. I mean, all of us that have legitimate CMS systems, whether it’s cloud or not, are employing artists to help improve the quality of what you see, not just at trade events, but really, more importantly, for launch content for our clients. And you know, to go out and engage an agency – if you’re Coca Cola, for corporate communications – it would be very, very expensive. And so we’re employing some of those same artists to really focus on that visual experience. And that’s something I believe has stuck. 

Dave Haynes: Yeah. I mean, like we’ve been saying… You’ve been around this industry a long time. You’ve seen lots of screens and lots of garbage on screens and it’s nice to… I’ve noticed that, I go to a lot of trade shows, and I’ve noticed in the last couple of years in particular you’re starting to see most of the vendors get it – that they have to make the investment in high-quality content that actually makes a difference. 

Sean Matthews: Yep. And in our space, it’s not like it’s a Clinique counter and we have fancy models walking around with, you know, beautiful makeup. It’s not 8k produced videos. This is content that has to engage employees, and so it really reflects what that experience looks like. And it’s a good deal different than, you know, retail pop. It’s two different experiences. 

Dave Haynes: Have you been tempted at all to kind of build up template libraries and things like that that people can use? 

Sean Matthews: It’s funny. So, for a decade we’ve talked about templates, and we have some templates that are built in and we have an internalized store so when you’re a user of our product, you do see that this store is available and there are all kinds of templates. And typically, it’s kind of like you and I using PowerPoint – you like the template, but immediately you want to change it. And so, that’s exactly what we run into. The templates really are more for ideas than they are for practical use.

Now, the templates do come into play and have a practical purpose when some of the information is already data mapped, and all you need to do is change like a URL and a username and password. But the position of the data elements is already defined on screen. And therefore, you’re not having to drag out widgets and modify the widget and do all that other stuff. So, it does speed up that data mapping process. But visually, most people want to completely redo the colors, the look, the feel. But we do have them. 

Dave Haynes: So, when you’re working with the channel… I mean, you guys get it – you get the importance of content and everything else. Part of the problem that you can run into with integrators is they’re selling a whole bunch of stuff and digital signage is one thing they also sell, and they aren’t necessarily in the same headspace or have the education around “How do we sell and activate and ensure the solution is really suitable?” 

Sean Matthews: Yeah. So I mean, that’s the challenge that we have always faced. I mean, since day one, so basically 15 years that we’ve been delivering this sort of technology. And integrators are usually technical salespeople who want to sell to a specification, an IO, a black box or whatever. And so, particularly when it comes to our creative services, which often includes custom programming for wayfinding and that sort of thing, they really aren’t as effective on their own at selling that piece of the puzzle.

So, we’re involved heavily in that sales process because the customer doesn’t understand a bucket of hours – “a bucket of hours for what?”, right? And, not being able to convey what it’s for does slow down the sales process. Which, I will say, that’s one reason I think that BrightSign has had a lot of success in this space, because channel partners view that as a black box (in their case a purple box), but it is a specification that they can sell and there’s a dollar amount associated with it. So, I do think that, you know, from just a box perspective, that’s one reason they’re seeing success. 

Dave Haynes: Yeah. I mean services are squishy. They’re kind of hard to wrap your arms around and explain to people. And you know, in the wrong hands, it just looks like a cash grab. You know, it’s like this 2000 bucks for certain professional services. The client’s going, “What the hell is that?” 

Sean Matthews: Yeah. And you know, most AV integrators, they had the same problem if you roll back 10 years ago selling managed services. Everybody was talking about managed services, and it took them quite some time and only a few, if you look at like the Diversified of the world, have been very good at selling those types of services, but it’s taken them quite some time. And I think the same in our space as well. 

Dave Haynes: Have you been…there is a term that’s used quite often about staying in your lane, sticking to what you’re good at. Has it been difficult through the years to, you know, be tempted into retail or digital out of home or anything else? 

Sean Matthews: Not really. It just hasn’t because we have such a partnership with our channel partners that most of them do not serve those markets. And, as a result, we would just be kind of going out there on our own. And, you know, I think it’s like taking your product international, or to certainly other parts of the world. You better have a lot of money to just go do that and invest in that, and you might not see returns for quite some time. And, even if you do, you might’ve made much more just sticking to what it is that you’re good at doing.

And, I have not seen a lot of desire, even within our own culture, to go after the retail market space. And often we have big name retail clients that we do their corporate work, and we just basically say, “Yeah, you would be better off doing something else for all of those stores.” And it works for us. It really does. 

Dave Haynes: Yeah. Because you know, you’ve got some years on you. But I would suspect a 28 year old CEO would be all over that saying, “Yes. Hell yeah we can do that for you.” I know you’ve had enough battle wounds to realize, “No, it’s just like, stick to this.”

Sean Matthews: And I do think about that when people start asking questions about what’s the difference between your product and theirs when it comes to retail? And a lot of it has to do with ad traffic reporting and that sort of playback; and the associated returns with when certain ads play; and connection to the POS; and understanding how much money was generated maybe when those ads were running; or how that campaign affected the bottom line. So, there’s just other analytics and other data information that just doesn’t fit into the workflows that we produce.

You know, we have clients who want to use PDFs, right? Yeah, of course that’s like a cardinal sin. But when you go to a university, their like, “We want to play back PDFs because it’s a common denominator.” Okay. But you know, that’s not something you might find in a retail type application. So again, the workflows are just different, and the playback purposes are different.

Dave Haynes: Visix is privately held, right?

Sean Matthews: It is privately held. Yes.

Dave Haynes: You own it, or…?

Sean Matthews: I’m an owner and have a partner, and it’s just the two of us. So there’s no outside equity investment. You know, there was a bunch of long-term debt that we actually paid off in 2018. It took us 10 years to pay it off. So, it’s been quite the accomplishment for us. It’s one of those, I’m going to check off like “Yep, yep, I can go to my grave and there’s no debt there,” kind of thing. But, you know, we’ve grown since 2004 when I got involved. We had nine employees. We have more than 60 today.

Dave Haynes: Wow. All in Atlanta?

Sean Matthews: Well, there a lot of field sales offices in various parts of the country. Our marketing team is in the Czech Republic. So, we have some global, you know…

Dave Haynes: Oh, yeah Debbie. I get emails from her and she’s in Prague.

Sean Matthews: Yep. She’s in Prague. And so, for us, a lot of this success has just been tied to our commitment to the channel and just staying the course. And you know, we have been, I don’t want to say revolutionary, but we certainly have led in the room sign space. We were one of the first to do CAP-compliant alert notification. If you roll back to ‘99, we were one of the first to have a browser interface. So, you know, there’s some things that we’ve really done, in terms of, again, not pioneering, but you know, being at the forefront of some certain changes in direction. And we were one of the few in the beginning who hired creative artists to help with launch content, whereas a lot of people weren’t doing that either.

Dave Haynes: Yeah. Creative design by engineers, software developers. Not a good move, but…

Sean Matthews: That’s when you can recall seeing a bunch of square areas on the screen, you know,

Dave Haynes: Yeah. Bad, bad, bad. So, at DSE you will mostly be changed at the booth, but is there tech that’s starting to emerge that intrigues you and will make a difference for your business and the business at large?

Sean Matthews: I think that does still… It seems a little old school, but the display technologies continue to evolve, and you’re starting to see curved panels and the video walls, and the technologies in that display space, to me, are really coming along nicely. And the interactive, you know, integration with those displays. You know, the clear, the see-through displays from LG and the curved components. I mean, to me, those things have an impact because now, architecturally, you can change the way a space looks instead of just having a black rectangle on the wall. Now it conforms to the architectural design and it has a much greater impact. And that just happens to be one of those technologies that I find more intriguing than things like near field or Bluetooth or beacons or anything like that. Because you know, we started playing with that stuff five, six years ago and it’s never taken off. So, everybody keeps talking about it, but I really am intrigued by some of the display technologies and what you can do with them in interior design, and then incorporating content that looks really good onto those surfaces.

Dave Haynes: Yeah. And I think a lot of the large form factor, direct-view stuff that right now is going into retail is going to increasingly find its way into workspaces.

Sean Matthews: Yeah. Most definitely. I mean, some of the technologies, if you think back just five years ago when you’d see a video wall in like a big corporate lobby – that was just a showboat thing, right? But now the cost has come down, and you can incorporate video walls three or four in a row. You don’t have to even do the two-by-three sort of classic design. But you know, you’re starting to see them really take shape in those corporate environments for real-world use other than something that’s just a showy lobby.

Dave Haynes: Yeah. I mean, as much as I really liked the showy lobbies and how they kind of take over from water fountains and so on… But, if you’ve got a very active company doing a whole bunch of things, you know… Or, if you can visualize what’s going on with your company at any given time in any place in the world and show like, “We’re up on this, we’re down on this, this is happening, this just sold,” whatever… it’s amazing what you can do.

 Sean Matthews: Yeah. Again, five, six years ago you would place a display in a hallway intersection hoping that as people walked down the hall, they would look up and see it. Now, with the cost and some of the things that you can do with video walls, the entire hallway as you walk down, it can be some sort of creative design that incorporates KPIs as well as other messaging. And you can do it for a lot less and it just looks better. So I’m excited about that. It seems odd, but yeah, I find that quite interesting at this point.

Dave Haynes: All right. Well thank you.

Sean Matthews: Thank you. I appreciate you having me.