#ISE2010 – Amsterdam Thoughts

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

You would have thought that after almost a full week in Amsterdam last week we could and would have spent the weekend relaxing but unfortunately not as we were part of a content and strategy workshop for one of our clients on the Saturday (with obligatory dinner on the Saturday evening) and then indulged ourselves in some corporate entertaining (Chelski vs Arsenal no less) on the Sunday.

Anyway, intrepid as ever we still managed to find the time to document our final observations on #ISE2010 whilst they (the observations) were still fresh in our mind…

  • It’s big. The show that is. Final total attendance for ISE was 28,489 (up from 24,912 in 2009)
  • It’s relevant to digital signage. Many may say “it’s finally relevant” but we’d say that the Digital Signage Hall / Zone is clearly in its second successful year.
  • Our open Letter to Mike Blackman congratulating him on the success of the DIgital Signage Zone in 2009 is here where we said “You have set the bar high for others to follow and managed to pull off a DS Zone that actually works”. He and his team have done it twice now!
  • Those digital signage vendors we criticised for not exhibiting should take it on the chin and not claim that (a) employees walking the floor, (b) sharing a booth, or perhaps worse still (c) having one of your media players unattended on someone else’s booth does not constitute being an exhibitor.
  • The #DOOHBizConf brought networks and media owners (err, end users) to the show. On the Tuesday after the conference closed and on the Wednesday a dozen or so of these folks came to see us. If you weren’t exhibiting you wouldn’t have met them walking the floor and if you were exhibiting and didn’t see them then maybe you want to focus on solutions that help them rather than technology that (sometimes) baffles them (more of that later).
  • OVAB Europe Members Neo Media Group, ECE Flatmedia, CAN Media all stopped by to talk with us. We also met JCDecaux, Digicom, Digiboard, Imagesound, PlayNetwork and many others. We also met key influencers from all over Europe like Bernhard Baer, Thomas Doktor, Chris Heap, Blair Parkin and Don Sperring and of course the invidis guys – all of whom for those with something to sell will / should have wanted to spend time with. ‘End-Users’ however you wish to define them were at #ISE2010 if you knew where to look and how to attract them.
  • Great coffee (that it was free helped), free Wi-Fi, a talented beautiful friendly Barista, comfortable chairs and sofas, a big OVAB Europe logo on our stand, some interestingly shaped technology, fantastic WayFinding (thanks Amigo Digital) and being close to the DS Showcase and the DS Experts Tour kick off area all helped us, relative newcomers to this exhibition lark, have one of the most traffic’ed and useful stands in Hall 10 AND importantly for us (as in the point above) meet the right people at the show.
  • Digital Signage Hall (12) was very successful and I am sure that all the exhibitors would be happy with footfall and the types of leads and contacts they made BUT the industry needs MORE dedicated space. It may take a bit of persuasion to move DISE, Scala and C-nario from the best positions they dominate in Hall 12 elsewhere but we think that the whole of Hall 10 (where we were) should be given over to digital signage in 2011.
  • Everyone now has a digital signage player. Whether it’s Mitsubishi of Geffen launching a digital signage solution everyone, big or small now has one. It’s actually going to be even harder for the Top 10 and others to differentiate themselves unless they really work on their brands and their marketing.
  • Big vendors are now firmly in the game. Whether it be Mitsubishi as above or Harris Broadcasting or Christie Digital we have seriously big companies, with marketing muscle and big turnovers to boot playing in the digital signage and digital out of home space. The little guys need to be wary ‘cos they seem to have learnt lessons from previous (attempted) big guns 3M and Cisco on how easy it is go to wrong (now who are 3M and Cisco in our space exactly and where were they? – their total absence says more than any criticism that we can level at them).
  • Much of the content on display is still bad. The better some people do content (sorry to harp on about this but seriously look at the great work that Arsenal Media have been doing with Christie Digital’s MicroTiles) the worst the average stuff looks.
  • A lot of content on display in Amsterdam was still average and quite a bit actually appalling. Whilst not wanting to pick particularly on Daktronics the ludicrousness of trying to show sports stadium LED close up – ie. within metres of the show attendees and then not even bothering to offer any bespoke content spoke volumes of a typical engineering / techie business not figuring out that good content goes a long well in selling the message you trying to get across
  • Like with Dave Haynes / pressDOOH’s special program intended to help firms ‘tune up’ their communications in advance of a trade show there is undoubtedly a similar opportunity for a content company to do similar with content
  • Getting together and having fun is surely an integral part of any trade show and there were several really enjoyable events we attended. The Barco Belgian Beer event for press only on the Tuesday night was probably our favourite highlight
  • We also enjoyed the new style InAVation awards (complete with singing compere). InAVate did a great job with the award ceremony, providing plenty of refreshment and snacks, great company, good sponsors and keeping the awards flowing smoothly so that no one was bored. Hats off Dan Jago and team and let’s keep that same style in 2011

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