It’s tradition that we always post, in between Christmas and the New Year, our look back on some of the best, we think, that the year had to offer.
This list, in no particular order, was compiled along with all of our contributors and like all ‘best of’ rankings it is in no way scientific. Enjoy…
- Digital Signage Investors’ Conference. In recent months we have been critical of the Strategy Institute (these guys like some others, really need to get with the free wi-fi, the big screens, online presentations etc. ) but they did run some really good conferences in 2009 (most if not all of which we attended). By far the best conference of the year anywhere was their Digital Signage Investor Conference held in New York in October . The speakers, the mix of attendees and the innovations like the speed dating were all brilliant.
- Dennis Kuperus you’re hired.. You can forget Amscreen and its 100k per annum Apprentices  and forget the new CEO of Danoo that no-one had ever heard of.
And whilst Digicom made some good hires that nearly made it we think the best hire in 2009 came down to a straight fight between Jill Lee being hired by Zoom Media and Dennis Kuperus who was hired by Kinetic  to drive their digital strategy across the EMEA region. Dennis wins best hire of 2009.
- PressDooh. We don’t necessarily ‘grok’ (i.e understand) all the consultancies popping up all over the place or even figure out how they will all stay in business. There’s a lot of unemployed people looking for a new ‘gig’ and perhaps consulting looks like an easy option- we wouldn’t necessarily recommend many of them either but there is one place that we do throw work and that’s in Burlington just outside Toronto. That’s the home / work office of David Haynes who has made writing a press release an art form. When PressDooh  has written or massaged a press release the job of journalist is made so much easier. If only more people used his services.
- MicroTiles. Easily the best new product of the year (in any category) was Christie Digital’s MicroTiles  – launched to much fanfare in November and December 2009.
Gary Kayye, one of the most respected AV analysts globally summed it up best when he said “to be perfectly honest, we don’t even think that Christie (DIgital) has a handle on how big of a product they have on their hand with MicroTiles”.
We think it might even be the best screen innovation of the decade. The term “game-changer’ is often bandied about, the term is deserved in this case.
- Global DOOH Media Forecast 2009-2014. The industry still gets a lot of rubbish purportedly published as research but as we said back in November “There’s probably only one research company that we respect enough to purchase their work and that’s PQ Media”.
Their latest report ‘Global Digital Out Of Home Media Forecast 2009-2014 ‘ which helped demonstrate that digital out-of-home media is among the fastest growing media in the world is simply the best piece of research published in the last few years. PQ Media easily produced the best research material in 2009.
- Bus Shelters. The solar powered, air conditioned bus shelter with inbuilt digital video that we saw plans for (squarely aimed at the Middle East market of course) never came to fruition but on the high streets of Europe the plain old bus shelter came alive in other ways with a whole host of digital initiatives.
Bus shelters that weigh you , the bus shelter that looked back  and a whole slew of very good JCDecaux Innovate Touch-Screen Bus Shelters (Goo the Egg, LG Chocolate phones and most recently for the Barnado’s charity).
Even Samsung’s prototype  on show at a number of events throughout the year was exceptional. It was hard to choose between any of them so our best of 2009 is the humble Bus Shelter itself – now gone digital of course!
- Goldberg & Gerba. Most people (we think) understand why we were so pissed about the ridiculous 2008 Digital Signage Man of the Year award  when much better men went unrewarded.
Anyway, unperturbed (we don’t think either of them cared two hoots to be honest) two men went about running their business (note to award jury neither of whom was kicked out of their day jobs by their board during 2009) and at the same time did some fabulous blogging (or should that be blog writing).
What they write is always well considered and almost never (if ever) self serving. The Ken and Bill Award for best blog, nicest guys, those-who-give-back-so-much-to-the-industry goes to Goldberg  and Gerba .
- InWindow Outdoor. The combination of projection technology, augmented reality and large format printing dominated streetscapes in 2009.
What campaigns did InWindow Outdoor do that were not brilliant (that’s a rhetorical question by the way); Coraline  was outstanding, so too the Vampire Diaries  and they even brought Intel’s You on Tomorrow campaign  to life.
Throughout the year InWindow Outdoor did amazing work and deserve credit for bringing the high street to life and helping better define an almost new OOH sector pretty much by themselves.
- MicroSigns. The MicroSigns product is a cross between an electronic shelf label, a digital sign and an interactive kiosk – bottom line it does away with the need for posters and other paper messages.
Built by a little known Montreal-based six-year-old company (venture capitalist investment from ID Capital). They have typically kept quiet about their deployments but have already installed 80-to-100 screens per store in a couple of tier one phone system retailers in Europe. This is a great little product and something you will see and hear a lot more of in 2010.
- Miele Store. The year saw a lot of great retail installations, the new Microsoft stores with their wall to wall screens (powered by C-nario by the way, though no-one is supposed to know that), the Heineken brand store (a rare Cisco digital signage win) and many others were all considered.
The best by far in our humble opinion was Miele’s Inspirience Centre  in the Netherlands. It has got everything, sound, smell, screens, Scala, great lighting and iPhone interactivity. It’s open to the public and well worth a visit.
For those of you who are interested …