Videri recently brought a new CEO on board to guide the company as it experiences rapid growth. We sat down with Wes Nicol in New York City to chat about what attracted him to the company (and the industry), his perspective on the Videri Canvas, and what’s next.
For over a decade, you’ve held leadership roles in the electronics manufacturing space, including the lighting technology and mobile phone sectors. Both of those segments experienced massive growth in the 21st century. What drew you to Videri?
When I was approached about joining Videri, I was super excited because of the established customers, incredible brands across the world using the product and technology. I also recognized all the untapped potential. When I told my friends and colleagues about this opportunity, they kept saying, well, I could use that in my business. I realized that this business could grow significantly.
Speaking to one of our largest customers in Europe, I see the enthusiasm, the passion for the product and the creative ways they’re using it. It’s fitting that we call the product a Digital Canvas, because it really is a blank canvas. You can do what you want with it. It’s infinite in terms of your creativity and your imagination.
Tell us more about the creative side, about the aesthetic appeal of the Videri Canvas.
The underlying platform technology is really unique. Customers can put the hardware in any environment and yes it’s very easy to set up and install, and it looks fantastic. Because its gret hardward and doesn’t look like a generic TV, it blends into the environment, but it draws attention with what’s going on the screen. Brands love that. At the end of the day, a display is a display and a Videri Canvas is beautiful yes, but it’s really about how our platform enables brands to put any content, including apps and services out there where you need it most.
Customers always talk about the visual impact, how engaging it is. With this really cool orchestration technology, you’re compelled to look, to figure out what’s going on across the Cnvases.
What’s the potential from a business perspective? How are companies using the Videri platform?
Many of our customers are getting huge returns on investment; it pays for itself very quickly. This is a business tool. It looks nice, but at the same time it’s driving results. People come in expecting returns in a year or two years, but we had a recent trial where they got return on investment in a matter of days. We know that our Canvases and the end-to-end Videri platform we have designed to support them, influence people making decisions at the point of sale, right in front of the product or in that specific location. The results can be almost immediate.
You mentioned that it “doesn’t look like a generic TV.” What’s the advantage of that? Why do people need a better solution? How does Videri improve on multi-purpose, generic LCD screens?
The main thing is that the Videri Canvas was purpose-built for our customers. In two ways. First, for simplicity of installation. You don’t need to plug anything into the Canvas, you just put it on the wall, connects to power, and it connects to the network.
The second purpose was to make it easy to centrally manage content. A lot of solutions out there hobble together hardware and software that were not built for eachother, and they require components to make everything work together. Videri controls the end -to-end and gives brands the maximum ability to deploy, manage and monitor their digital at scale. Videri lets you manage tens of thousands of Canvases around the world — it’s truly enterprise-grade, or just a single one like a digital poster in your small business. We’ve removed the complexity from traditional digital which makes it effortless for businesses to get into digital and manage digital at scale. Since I’ve been at Videri, I’ve seen that other solutions out there are kind of a Frankenstein.
So it’s not just the hardware, it’s the underlying software, the CMS and the back-end integrations that enterprise companies are responding to.
Exactly. Big, global companies have unique challenges. They have people located all over the world in different markets, different languages with different local needs. At that scale, they’re dealing with people in many different countries with different hierarchies, access permissions and such. We’ve spent years building an enterprise-grade platform that lets them manage all their accounts and Canvases, in a secure and scalable way, which is critical for enterprise customers. One person can manage five to ten thousand Canvases. That’s really impactful!
What’s next for Videri, and for the digital signage industry?
Right now we’re responding to so much feedback, especially incorporating more enterprise-level features, as we build the next generation of the Canvas. There are so many customers that are coming to us with new business ideas, how they’re going to transform their business and use our product as a tool for them to go into new segments and to drive big impact as they’re transforming their business, moving into a digital world. This is a dynamic world. Content is constantly changing. People want new, fresh engaging content, not just a static image or a static poster, and we enable you to do that.
As for the industry — there are so many segments, so many industries that have not taken advantage of the ability to provide dynamic, location-based content. We’re moving from traditional digital out-of-home (OOH), where you might see billboards in certain locations, to every business using this as a tool to communicate with employees, communicate with their customers, and represent their brand. It could be at an event, at a trade show, at a retail location. I think we’re just in the infancy of this industry and it’s really an exciting time to be here.
Last question: what do you think of the Videri team?
I’m really excited about the team we’ve built here, they’re all really passionate. They can get things done.
Every individual who’s leading part of the company is really experienced and knows what they’re doing and is able to make things happen. They’re humble and hardworking. The whole team, everyone here is really engaged and enthusiastic.
Thanks for your time, Wes!