Bits & Bytes From The @SEGD #Xlab2015 Conference

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

This was the fifth year that the Society for Experiential Graphic Designs has held #Xlab2015, and while this was the first one I attended, I not only gained material for editorial articles, but also learned a lot about what the future holds creatively and technologically speaking.

segd_logo-400x400The 250-plus attendance was down from last year, but those present, a gregarious lot during breaks, all sat in rapt attention as the speakers discussed the transformation of cities, business, retail, wearables and public spaces.

DailyDOOH’s own technology guru, Andrew Neale, knew of such companies as Adafruit, which sells 2,700 different pieces worldwide for people to build their own technology devices, but even he was taken aback at some of the futuristic ideas put forth.

Some may never come to pass, but the creativity in thinking was superb and sometimes hilarious. Can you imagine a couple driving to work in a car that then splits into two as each takes the route to his/her own office? Or a robot camera tracking direct eye contact, turning on lights only when looking at them? Or turning a bottle on a table top for a volume control? These were all part of a presentation entitled ‘Smart Dumb Things’ by ARGO Design’s Jared Ficklin.

On the more ‘today’ front, we heard such comments as “People must be involved in the multi-disciplinary world. There’s a need to collaborate,” and “Digital signage is changing and there is an enormous need for story telling and effective content,” and “Prioritize investment in technology that creates a personalized experience,” and “Focus on what deepens the relationship with the customer.” All good advice!

David Kepron from LITTLE, always a good speaker, reiterated in the Transforming Retail session, what we also heard at the DailyDOOH Investor Conference: “Consumers are way ahead of the store.”

He also said that Millenials out-text any other group in the US, and that 13-year-olds have a socially networked brain. In fact, the 13-year-old wants to recreate the world because it gives him/her a sense of empowerment.

Other speakers discussed how ‘people want to play in the experience. Even if a brand’s story is good, consumers “want to write the brand, and then it is based on what social media thinks of it.’

Darren David of Stimulant talked about technology being the new ‘public space’, showing how 66% of people in Sweden took stairs rather than an escalator when the stairs were made like piano keys that played music. He also showed how, in Montreal, a public space was transformed with swings that played music when people used them.

All in all, it was a good and worthwhile conference to attend, and I’d highly recommend that anyone – especially creative people – planning to attend 2016 New York Digital Signage Week (Oct. 24-to-28) put SEGD’s Xlab into their agenda.

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