Digitalising UK retail

Retail computing specialist Distec has expanded the selection of commercial and retail products it offers by partnering with global digital signage expert AOPEN. The deal will see Distec become a distributor of AOPEN's range of digital signage products, including the Chromebase and Chromebox series of commercial computers. This partnership makes Distec the only UK-based distributor of AOPEN's commercial Chrome range.

The Chromebase and Chromebox computers, which operate using Google's Chrome operating system, are designed for use in busy retail environments. The Chromebase is a multi-touch device that is ideal for interactive displays and in point-of-sale kiosks, while the Chromebox is a discrete solid-state system that connects to peripheral digital signage screens. Each PC is housed in a robust enclosure and is fitted with an Infineon trusted platform module (TPM) to secure the device against intrusion.

In addition to the Chrome range, Distec will also be distributing various other AOPEN products, including the digital engine range of media players and the eTILE All-in-One devices. In particular, Distec will sell the In-Store Showcase. This is a commercial PC with a transparent LCD display, allowing retailers to place physical products inside the display box and complement them with digital graphics, video and audio. Retailers can use this in place of standard display units to create a novel customer experience.

"The technology used in the retail industry has changed significantly in the past decade," explained Noel Sheppard, a director of Distec. "We have witnessed an increasing number of businesses turn to digital products such as touchscreen kiosks and interactive displays to enhance the customer experience and better advertise products. That trend is showing no signs of slowing down and the lines are blurring between retail and industrial computing.

"For example, industrial environments have used fanless PCs for many years to provide reliable and low-maintenance performance. AOPEN's commercial Chromebox brings a similar set-and-forget approach to the retail sector, allowing retailers to set up the device as required and then leave it running with minimal disruption.

"As the use of digital technology in retail is relatively new, many retail managers find themselves uncertain about what devices they need to achieve their desired outcome. Our insight and experience in industrial computing and digital signage technologies allows us to offer advice and consultancy to help retailers specify the right system, whether it's an individual PC or a fleet of computers."

As well as physical systems, Distec can also provide Chrome device management (CDM) to customers. This is a cloud-based management system that allows retail managers, regardless of IT proficiency, to control Chrome-powered digital signage networks from one location. This provides a simple means of rolling out system updates and malware protection, as well as preconfigured apps for use by the end customer.

For more information on the range of AOPEN commercial computers offered by Distec, contact the company on +44 (0) 1617 774 273.

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