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Dating for distributors

Ian McMurray 26 January 2015

While for some visitors to ISE the show provides an ideal opportunity to look at all the bright, shiny objects launched since the previous year, for the large majority, it’s a place to do business.
That’s certainly true for manufacturers looking for new distributors – and distributors looking for new product lines to add to their range.

To facilitate the needs of both, ISE 2014 saw the launch of the innovative M2D (Manufacturer to Distributor) programme. Simply: it’s a portal that exists to put manufacturers and distributors in touch with each other – a kind of dating service for businesses. And: it’s a completely free service provided by ISE.

Exceeded expectations

“Last year, M2D exceeded our expectations by some margin,” says Thomas Krackl of ISE. “It was a huge success, so it was obvious that we should do it again this year. At ISE 2014, 204 manufacturers registered with the M2D programme, looking for distribution in 818 territories. In its second year, now that it’s more established, we expect the numbers to be even higher.”

Scattered throughout the ISE halls on special screens – in the Business Lounge, for example – among the extensive signage for which the show has become known, lists of territories for which manufacturers are looking for distributors will be displayed, making it easy for visitors to spot opportunities to enhance their business.

However, ISE has recognised that standing in front of a screen scrolling through upwards of 800 territories may not be the best use of a visitor’s time at the show.

“Alternatively,” adds Krackl, “those lists can be downloaded to a visitor’s mobile phone or tablet to review later at their leisure. Visitors can capture the on-screen QR code to take them to the relevant site. We are offering this service exclusively to our visitors and exhibitors.”

Compelling reason

In other words, involvement in M2D is only possible from the RAI in February: another compelling reason to be there. Krackl notes that prospective distributors can also go to the 2Signage stand – Stand 8-N210 in Hall 8 – where the company can also make the list available. 2Signage is providing the software that enables the M2D programme.

How does a manufacturer get included within the M2D programme?

“He simply goes to the ISE website back office and logs in using his regular credentials,” explains Krackl. “There, he’ll see the M2D button. Clicking on that will show him a list of territories, and he just has to choose the ones where he’s looking for representation, convey the product types that are available and provide contact details. It’s that simple. Manufacturers can update their entry on the M2D portal right up to the day before the show opens.”

The M2D programme was unquestionably a success at ISE 2014 – so will it see any improvements on its second outing?
“It worked very well last year,” according to Krackl, “so you’ll just see a few tweaks to make information more clearly visible and make the overall system easier to use.”

The 2Signage digital signage software on which the M2D programme is based allows, according to the company, connection to almost any form of structured data. Its developer is German company 2Safer. Applying its ITSM and SaaS knowledge, 2Safer – whose customers include some of the world’s largest telecommunications and transportation companies – developed 2Signage as an easy-to-use white label digital signage system that allows integrators to offer digital signage to their customers using their own branding.

Also, 2Signage is said to offer enterprise-grade security and is able to run on any network at minimal risk. 2Signage comes with pre-configured hardware which is said to be as easy to set up as a common
DVD player.

With visitors expected to top 50,000 for the second year running, together with close to 1,000 exhibitors, ISE promises, yet again, to be a must-not-miss event for AV professionals. The M2D programme is just one more reason to attend – to find that perfect partner.

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