From Idea to Company
It’s the time of MTV and VIVA. Almost every bar, club, or restaurant has a plasma screen on which one of the two channels is playing on a loop. This inspired five friends to come up with the idea of using these screens more effectively than just playing music videos without sound.
They developed a concept and searched for a software solution that would allow them to display “own content” on the displays. The idea was to provide customers with hardware and software so that they could promote their events, campaigns, etc. The whole thing was financed through advertising content from external partners. The “Screenimage Bars and Clubs Channel” was born. Soon, the first notable customer was won, the St. Moritz Casino. In the following months, the customer base grew, and soon 50 establishments were part of the “Bars and Clubs Channel”. The conception and implementation of Switzerland’s first multimedia lounge at the Hotel Monopol’s former P1 Club in Lucerne caused media attention at that time.
“Storm and Stress Time”
Motivated by success, Screenimage plans to expand abroad. In 2006, Screenimage Germany and Austria were founded. At the same time, Screenimage built a second business line with “customer systems”. In these solutions, the system was tailored to the needs of the respective customer and no longer financed through advertising. Screenimage became a system integrator for digital signage solutions of all kinds. One can truly speak of the company’s pioneering phase. No project was like the other, and at times, the founders and friends’ craftsmanship skills were strongly demanded. In this phase, in addition to the PC and digital signage screen, the hammer drill or circular saw was also typical working tools. Screens were built into “cubes” in aluminum frames, displays were installed in gondola lifts, and during this time, a process was also developed with an international industrial corporation to be able to use projectors to play special plastic discs.
Not least due to a law change in the field of tobacco advertising, advertising revenue shrank during this time. It became more challenging to operate the Bars & Clubs Channel profitably. Screenimage faced the question of whether to continue to rely on the current revenue driver with declining margins or to concentrate radically on customer systems. The decision to focus on customer systems and the Swiss market proved to be a trial of fire but turned out to be the right decision in retrospect. Soon, well-known companies from all industries became customers.
Screenimage Grows Up
With a larger customer base, the requirements for the software solution also grew. To meet them, Screenimage launched its first proprietary software “screenPLAN” in 2010. With the in-house software, it became possible to respond even more precisely to customers’ individual communication needs. The field of digital signage, especially in the area of internal communication, is growing. Thanks to orders from two well-known Swiss industrial corporations, Screenimage screens can be found around the globe from Adelaide, Australia to Santiago de Chile.
In 2017, another important milestone was reached. After an internal restructuring, the four members of the executive board decided to develop the software from scratch. They could rely on the active support of their partner, Apptiva. The partnership bore fruit, and the first new customer was put into operation on the new software as early as December 2018. The migration of all existing customer systems will take almost three more years.
With the new software, Screenimage is starting a new chapter. In recent years, the company has evolved from a pure system integrator to a communication enabler in the field of internal communication. Consulting and concept development are becoming increasingly important. To give this development a face, a rebranding will take place in 2019, accompanied by a move to new office space within the D4 Business Village Luzern in Root.
Present and future
Thanks to a broad and above all very loyal customer base, Screenimage has come through the two pandemic years relatively unscathed. Nevertheless, the team is thinking about the future of the company as well as the impact of the changes in the world of work triggered by the pandemic. A team workshop is planned for 2022 to develop a product vision for the upcoming challenges. Digital signage solutions will continue to be the core business of Screenimage. However, the solutions should be even more interconnected. In the vision, Screenimage forms the information platform where all company information comes together and is played out on the corresponding media. The introduction of the employee app “Screenimage Mobile” is the first witness to this development.
An anniversary is always a time to look back and reminisce. In retrospect, it is the many joyful experiences, great encounters, and celebrations that remain with us. For this reason, it is also the ideal time for us to thank all of our long-standing customers, partners, and employees. 20 years may be a long time, but thanks to you, it flew by.