Well, that was quite a year.
Yep, 2020 was massively busy for the team at One Digital Signage but it’s fair to say it looked absolutely nothing like how we planned it. And this was pretty much entirely down to the one thing that will define the last twelve months for most people – Covid-19.
Our business planning for the year took place with quiet rumblings of a problem emerging out in China, one which we’d picked up on through disruption to some of our component supply chains.
However, at this point the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t something to steer our strategy for the coming year.
Instead, we were focused on an expansion of our core range of digital signage solutions for retail and hospitality, with several new customer-driven innovations in development. This, along with a number of major projects lined up for our installations team meant hopes were high for a big 2020.
And then, very soon after the turn of the year, that little virus issue out East blew up into something much, much bigger. And all of our plans changed.
Our full realisation of the scale of the problem probably came a bit earlier than it did for the general public, simply due to the business disruption we had started to experience. It was this slight head start, along with our management team’s foresight to react to it, that allowed us to begin our Covid pivot earlier than most.
We threw ourselves into the development of our LCD screen-integrated Hand Sanitiser solutions, a concept originally devised a few years ago but never fully developed due to restricted demand. But that was definitely going to be different in the coming year.
As the full force of the Covid-19 pandemic began to be felt across the UK around March, we were really getting in to gear with our infection control offering, ready to bring to market our original 22” and 10” LCD Screen Hand Sanitisers.
With a national lockdown announced and an effective economic shutdown in many industries, we made the almost complete and immediate shift in our operations from our core products to infection control.
Soon, the demand for these products became huge as businesses turned to the challenge of either staying open or reopening safely. In fulfilling this demand, we were supported by a new exclusive UK distribution agreement with audio-visual industry heavyweights Northamber PLC – out of the ordinary and a real achievement for an SME business like ourselves.
With the original hand sanitiser units flying out of our workshops, we also responded to new customer demand and feedback with the expansion of our Infection Control range. This saw the introduction of the Curved Kiosk Hand Sanitiser, the iDisplay Infrared Facial Thermometer and the IP65-rated Outdoor Hand Sanitiser.
As the year progressed with ever-changing regulations – lockdowns & relaxations, business closings & re-openings – we remained committed to supporting businesses whatever situation they found themselves in.
We understood the struggles many faced, and why this meant their access to cutting-edge infection control solutions was even more critical. So, working with Corporate Leasing & Finance, we developed affordable three-year finance packages to make our solutions available to even more.
It’s been a hard year for all, no doubt about that, but it’s also been one where the One Digital Signage team has pulled together throughout a hugely challenging time for the country, businesses and individual people.
This attitude and commitment of our team is one of the main reasons why we were so proud to pick up SME Business of the Year at the AV Awards 2020 in November. Our business growth and success is only possible because of our people, this award was recognition for their hard work.
And this brings us to now, a point in time when various vaccines seem to be offering a light at the end of the Covid tunnel.
Finally, we have been able to refocus again on R&D within our core product ranges – developing existing products and releasing new digital signage solutions such as our UltraSlim Outdoor Display – and take a genuine dual business approach alongside our Infection Control offerings.
We’re also excited to say that the Made in Britain mark will be displayed across many of our solutions now (which we’ll talk more about in an upcoming article) – we’ve got big New Year plans with lots to come and we’ll do it as part of the prestigious Made in Britain family.
So, despite everything, there have been many high points and achievements for us in a generally dark year for the World. Now though, let’s bring on the better times for all in 2021.
Happy New Year to all of our customers, partners, friends and readers. We’ll see you on the other side!