View From The Observation Deck

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Late last week we were very briefly in New York doing work for some investors and then had the fantastic luxury of cruising back home across the atlantic on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 – which if you have never done is something that we would thoroughly recommend (and it’s not as expensive as you might imagine).

We managed to stay in touch with the office, our contributors and the world in general thanks to Maritime Communications Partner AS (MCP) who provided a 2G mobile phone signal pretty much the whole journey. The ship also has on-board Wi-Fi and a big PC communications centre but surprisingly (to us) our Google phones did more than enough and our new MacBooks (configured last minute especially for this trip) didn’t even get taken out of their new Bill Amberg bags the whole trip.

Anyway, even though we are not yet mid way through 2009, a few days away at sea is as good a time as any to reflect on the industry – in particular shows and conferences and why we think we have far too many of them!!

Regular readers will know that we are particularly excited, as we were last year, about InfoComm in the middle of June – see the DailyDOOH Best Of 2008) and as usual our staff and contributors will be at the event in force.

It is our belief still that the big shows are going to come to the fore even more and we will see (and indeed, we need) some seismic changes in the show world in 2010.

ise_header_2010Let’s take for example; ISE, Amsterdam 2nd to 4th February 2010. Mike Blackman the organiser has some big plans for DOOH again at the event. There will be another business summit (this year’s event, very much like the OVAB Summit in late 2008 which was a game changer was the start of something very special) and ISE’s Digital SIgnage Zone was the first ‘zone’ at such a large event to ever actually work.

Mike also has a couple of other things up his sleeve as well 😉

The likes of DSE (up next in Las Vegas after ISE in the 2010 event calendar of course) and Screen Media Expo (now moved to 5th and 6th May 2010) in order to stay at the forefront of our industry’s mind (as they have done successfully for 5 or 6 years now), are both going to have to innovate like never before.

We firmly believe that it’s time for shows like The Digital SIgnage Expo in Essen (in 2010 the event has moved to mid-June) to die quietly or at least revert to being a Kiosk only show as it should be.

Almost all of the signage exhibitors we spoke to, told us they were disappointed with the event this year (as if last years wasn’t bad enough).

Visitors could walk round in 10 minutes and see everything they wanted to – and it was not surprising that even the conferences were poorly attended.


Yet of course the show organisers trumpet the event as a huge success and even have the gall to laughably label this as “Europe’s Largest Digital SIgnage Show”.

The industry won’t miss this show and indeed it is time for the (fledging and disparate) industry associations that we have to lobby the industry and simply back the right shows – marketing budgets are stretched at the moment like never before and it is in no one’s interest to spread themselves thin and yet it is in everyone’s interest to have a few really good and really successful events each year.

We believe that the shows that deserve industry support should be ISE in Amsterdam, DSE in Las Vegas (but please not two US shows in one year), Screen Media Expo Europe and InfoComm.

NAB by the way is already far too cluttered – it has everything from outside broadcast vehicles, satellites, TVs, cameras, film, broadcast equipment, IPTV, projection – and doesn’t need yet another ‘vertical’ thread to be included.

It may be however that CES and CeBit have roles to play but if that is the case then it is going to be down to strong industry associations driving this forward and working to raise the profile of our industry. Poor shows, especially those that pretend to represent or have the backing of the industry do no one any good.

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