Cisco not exactly taking over, but doing some business

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When network gear giant Cisco bought tiny little Tivella at the start of the year and formally announced it was getting into the digital signage game, it captured a lot of attention.

Big company. Deep pockets. Great customer base. Fabulous products.

Those of us working with much smaller companies had to think a lot of the big enterprise accounts being chased would also now look seriously at Cisco as an option, albeit a stinkin’ expensive one. But in the intervening months, I have seen little indication Cisco is out there selling this.

But it seems they are indeed out there, and winning some business. They have already rolled out a big job, done in three months, with the Norwegian national lottery.

Norsk Tipping wanted to deploy the digital signage solution quickly, reads a study on the Cisco corporate site, before retailers adopted their own solutions. This would give the company a competitive advantage in selling advertising on the signs to the retailers and other third parties. Therefore, Norsk Tipping engaged a Cisco partner to install and connect the digital signs in 4,500 locations throughout the country.

Deployment was complete after just three months of work. The content management system resides at headquarters. A system administrator manages the digital signage centrally, over the IP network, minimizing onsite technical support requirements.

Once the deployment was under way, Norsk Tipping began publishing content to the digital signs. Each week, the company creates hourly broadcast plans that define the digital signage content to be broadcasted over its existing Cisco network. Typically, three or four messages alternate on each screen, providing more flexibility than possible with paper-based advertising.

To better target its messages, Norsk Tipping divided its retailers into two segments, based on whether they focus on lottery games or sports betting. Stores in each segment receive content that is targeted for their customers. During quiet hours in sports-betting stores, for example, Norsk Tipping stimulates cross-selling by promoting lottery games. “The Cisco Digital Media System helps us deliver the right communications, at the right time of day, to generate incremental sales,” says Onsrud. The displays are also used to broadcast odds of winning and weekly game results, eliminating the need for in-store TVs. 

That would have been a very nice deal for any of us, and there is another press release today about Cisco doing 70 employment shops in Belgium. So while I still don’t expect to bump into Cisco very often in pursuing deals, clearly they are indeed chasing this business, too.

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