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Interview: Joe Rabah on standing out with RMG

Joe Rabah has been RMG Networks Middle East MD since 2009, in January his responsibilities expanded to include Europe. We met up during ISE to get Rabah’s thoughts on the show and what his new EMEA role means for RMG.

Over the years that you have been attending ISE, firstly as a visitor and now as an exhibitor, you must have seen it change quite a bit.
It has, I’ve always looked at ISE as a hub that will encompass the latest technology, but I never thought it would be that big. I’ve attended CES shows in the states and DSE; this is a different breed of people that come in. It’s not the retailers, it’s a mix of everybody and that’s the professional AV guys to the digital signage companies. I’ve never seen a hall dedicated to digital signage. And to be part of it is really invigorating because we’re competing in this space and you have 100 companies and you’re trying to show how yours stands out from the rest. You’re surrounded by all this new technology and yet you can’t really tell which is which until you get the chance to sit down and have a chance to speak to someone about it.

What’s your 60-second pitch to tell people how RMG is different?
I know a lot of people find it difficult to believe that we have something special. I mean I’ve been around as I mentioned for 21 years. In essence people stand here and they look around and they see these LEDs and they see these other digital signage companies and they sit down and say “what’s the difference?” And I say – “it’s everything”.

Our 60-second pitch today is about how RMG has developed Korbyt. We don’t refer to Korbyt as a CMS, we refer to it as a platform. Platform for us means that it can encompass any type of output. It can be part of your digital content design tool all the way to the output devices, which are the media players, whether they’re Android-based, Windows-based, Chrome-based. And then we start looking at these screen manufacturers where they’re embedding these media players inside the screens. And you start saying “how do I get these solutions all-in-one”, and at the same time target the mobile users that are using tablets, using mobile phones in Android and iOS.

This is where the platform comes in. Now we have a complete ecosystem, unlike everybody else that claims that they have an ecosystem. This is a true ecosystem that’s built from the ground up and not added on from the legacy software that we’ve had for 21 years. This is what differentiates us and it’s all 100% web-based, SaaS modelled, on-premise, off-premise and a hybrid solution.

Now you’ve also developed the LED screens so you can provide a complete solution.
Customers come to us for the fact that we don’t only supply the hardware or software, they want a one-stop shop they can come and get the software, the hardware, the media players, the professional services to install it and the creative part to get the content that you see around you.

I’m happy there’s other LED displays around us, but I’m more happy to say that you can buy it from them but you’re not going to get the content that goes with it. You’re not going to get the player that’s going to drive it. And you’re not going to get the network that can handle it when it gets distributed across all these systems. This is where we shine. We are able to say that every one of these screens you see at ISE can be driven through one system today, including your mobile phone.

Having expanded your role to become MD across the entire EMEA region, is that to tackle some inefficiencies within the business?
I wouldn’t look at it as inefficiencies, more as optimisations or streamlining the revenue process. We felt that at some point, there’s a consolidation that has to happen. Having Dubai as a centralised area a separate silo and then you have Eurasia where you go through Dubai to get to Europe just didn’t make a lot of sense. And with the revenues hitting good targets within the Middle East we thought that we can actually allow the same innovation and the same spirit of revenue growth across the globe and this becoming one of the target assets to have the same momentum that we’ve had everywhere else. So it’s an exciting time. At the same token I’m really looking forward to giving that same spirit of innovation to our teams in Europe.