Flat Panels Go Home

Dylan Jones, Jones Digital Media

Silicon Valley’s first city hosted the Display Search Flat Panels Go Out of Home conference and Dylan Jones was there to cover it for us.

Biblical references can be a little like buses; you wait for ages for one to turn then three come at once. So it came to pass at the Flat Panels Go Out Of Home conference where the biblical metaphors came so thick and fast I wondered for a moment if I’d accidentally wandered into a revival meeting.

Let’s look at the highlights, at least from the creative guy’s perspective…

Lyle Bunn, bringer of light, providing a historic leap of faith that connected Sir Francis Drake, the Industrial Revolution and LED TV’s. Let’s hope Lyle’s not insinuating we’re all a bunch of pirates out there in the DOOH world.

Jeff Porter of Scala presented an image of Moses hurtling down the mountain, hoisting a couple of flat-screens above his head in place of the tablets. I did notice the screens were blank: maybe the content creationists were late delivering?

Rob Butris of National City Bank’s solemn sermon on how to ask investors for money to launch your digital network hit a serious note. Three words; “proof of concept” or be prepared to give away a big fat chunk of equity. Build it and they will come? Not on his watch

Praise be to Cisco for creating a  ‘Digital Signage Academy’ for digital out of home experts, from software deployment to content and creative and providing their clients with a 360 degree digital signage solution. Not sure HP and Intel were quite there yet with that approach, but conversion is on the cards. I’m sure.

Chris Connery from Display Search as the moderator went off script with his references to Confucius, but kudos to Chris for keeping the day moving and the presenters on topic.

Pierre Richer from NEC took a school-teacher-like approach to close the shenanigans and warned of the gathering storm if the industry doesn’t buckle down and set some standards for media delivery with one platform that connects all digital place-based media networks; prophet of doom or seasoned realist? Like most things, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

The big news, at least from my perspective, was how many of the big technology companies were in attendance.

The cynic in me would say it’s because for most of them it was a quick jaunt down Highway 101, but when you get the likes of Intel, Hewlett Packard and Cisco coming to the party and talking about serious investment in Digital out of Home (Cisco even teased us with the promise of a major announcement towards the end of the year) you’ve got to remind yourself these companies didn’t get to be successful by making dumb investments

As I keep saying, I’m the creative guy who’s passionate about content, but from where I was sitting I begin to wonder if this is the future of Digital Out Of Home.

We’ve all heard the complaints of DOOH being too fragmented and littered with too many small players; maybe these tech giants will be the harbingers of consolidation for the industry?

Overall, the conference hit the right notes between bullish optimism and stark realism; dare I say, DOOHptomistic?

And as a final word I’m sure Lyle Bunn won’t mind me paraphrasing the throwaway line of his: “content is not king, relevance is king

The most persuasive gospel of the day, and one certainly I can live by.

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