Those who attended the DisplaySearch 4th Annual Digital Signage Conference , held the day before #InfoComm11, were privileged to be at one of the better educational day sessions we’ve attended in a long time.
Rather, each speaker tackled a particular topic relevant to the industry and explained in detail where that was going and details of how to use, how to sell, how things are changing in that area. Sure, they made reference to their own companies, but more in relation to how they’ve learned and used the particular topic referenced.
It was a real shame then that the event was so poorly attended. We counted 43 people in the room; as four of those were DailyDOOH plus Dave Haynes, David Keene and a dozen speakers, we wonder exactly how many people paid to attend?
It’s not an isolated incident either, because the digital signage / digital out of home conference the day before #ISEUROPE in Amsterdam in February (which attracted over 28,000 people) only attracted 130 people.
This conference was one that a lot more companies, vendors and resellers could have learned from, so perhaps the problem was in the agenda itself, the way it was positioned and the lack of a really big name / big draw keynote speaker – and no we would not have suggested the Doctor, Ed
There’s a huge thirst for knowledge about digital signage in the AV Industry and it is quite simply not being tapped.
Chris Connery, vice-president PC and large format commercial displays, DisplaySearch  moderated the day quite well, asked some solid questions and kept the conference on time but did cut across a couple of questions from our own editor-in-chief to the HP guy just when a debate and a discussion with the audience was about to get interesting.
Anyway, as well as our learning about pitch tilt, parallax barriers and the advantages of aluminosilicate glass, here are a few excerpts from what some of the speakers discussed: –
- Doug Albregts, vice-president of sales and marketing, Samsung Enterprise Business Division . The industry now has solid LED and good management software products; the ability to produce great content; lower costs; interactions with mobility; good metrics; tangible ROI, and more, but, “As stakeholders, we haven’t done a good job in terms of coming together to really roll it out, not on a one-off basis but in terms of a major rollout. We need a collaborative effort by the industry on a massive scale.” Albregts says, And Samsung is willing to help fund in the first year to do this – see also our June 14 article here, Ed )
- Karl DeManss, group manager, Panasonic Solutions Company . DeManss gave a solid comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of LCD and plasma for commercial applications. LCD seems better for outdoor and showroom displays, but you might prefer plasma for sports bars.
- Ed Stock, platform system architect, Intel . Stock discussed the growth of and forecasts for the industry and how, as technology advances, companies can easily upgrade, using examples from Intel customers in retail, hospitality, banking and entertainment sectors.
- Paul Redding, senior strategic business manager, Chief . Redding threw dozens of really good questions that people planning to add digital signage should be asking. eg. Is it positioned in the customer’s sight-line? Near the product? Easy to install? Well-attached? Does it have easy post-installation adjustment?
- John Sheehan, senior director of digital signage business unit, NEC Display Solutions  gave the best presentation of the day we thought. Sheehan pointed out how digital signage is going to have to cope with challenges in the quick service restaurants sector (think allergies, among others) and all the touch points (structural engineers, ad agencies, construction, financing, marketing, franchises, IT, store design) that must be involved to cope with problems and set up successful QSR digital signage.
- David Wilkins, president and CEO, X2O Media  – Wilkins discussed content as not being easy and how it can be the most expensive part of digital signage. “Automate as much as possible,” he advised, because most users don’t have a lot of time to focus on content, don’t know where to find good content, and don’t have the talent to develop design. “Be careful of rights issues when looking for content,” he said, and “Content can get out of control when a lot of screens and/or a lot of people are involved.” – David was one of the better speakers in the afternoon session but as Dave Haynes pointed out via Twitter during the conference, Wilkins’ content examples were far too cluttered. A (generic) point that Haynes returns to today in a blog post here , Ed
- Tom Zerega, CEO and founder, Magnetic 3D  was upbeat about 3D though elsewhere in the show we think the hype has died down a little surrounding it. Tom claimed that 3D without glasses is the next big thing in digital signage and that companies can get into the 3D game for under $5,000 , so price-wise, it’s possible to think in terms of a network structure. “But you still need content, and content for 3D isn’t as easy as other content.”
Apart from the attendance the only other downside was that during the day there was no mention of OLED and no MicroTiles or Prysm stories. It would have been good also for the organizers to have gotten someone from eyevis to talk about omniSHAPES. 
Having said that we enjoyed it, we each received seriously the BEST ‘goodie’ bags ever at a conference event we attended and to top it all we all learnt a lot.