An Update On @dx3canada,Toronto

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Dx3 Canada, Canada’s first digital trade show seems to be coming together as was pictured by the organizers, Dx3, with some solid sponsors, approximately 75 exhibitors signed up to date, a program of speakers being finalized, and some really fun features.

But, rather disappointingly, either the digital out-of-home industry has ignored the show, or the organizers haven’t been able to sell it to DOOH – or, and we do get this feeling – haven’t tried hard enough because DOOH/Digital Place-based/Digital Signage wasn’t part of their vision. And we can’t solely blame the organizers for that. Perhaps as much to blame are the members of the advisory board, because they – including the three media agency representatives – apparently ignored the whole DOOH industry sector.

“It wasn’t mentioned,” Anthony Lipkin, marketing manager admitted. “The focus is on mobile and the Web. We’re looking specifically at digital marketing, digital advertising and digital retailing.”

And, unfortunately, that’s quite typically Canadian. Despite some of the leading global digital software companies such as Broadsign and Omnivex being based in Canada (and Scala having a Canadian office), and despite key players based in Canada such as Astral, Zoom Media, Ayuda, Haivision, X2O, Telecine, Arsenal, Capital Networks, Canadian Health Media Network, Christie (MicroTiles), Newad, Captivate Network, Screenscape, and-and-and (we could go on and on), the DOOH industry just isn’t strongly in the Canadian media agency mindset.

But looking at what this show is, it’s a solid mix of everything else. On the list of exhibitors, there is, one can say, everything from soup to nuts. Ad creative – six exhibitors; behavioural/demographic targeting – five exhibitors; content delivery/management – eight; customer engagement/satisfaction – three; interactive TV/IPTV – one; mobile apps – seven; mobile marketing – eight; shopping cart software – two; and much, much more.

On the content side, we were quite intrigued to find that the show will not open with a keynote speaker. Rather, there’ll be what should be a popular event: a live performance of CBC’s The Debaters, with Host Steve Patterson and two other Canadian comedians having a little fun at the event’s expense.

Other features include: a Linkedin breakfast; a mobile experience lab; a Say:Media party; a comScore Academy; IAB Canada’s Spotlight Theatre of case histories, and more, including Canadian technology star Amber Mac hosting a live show, interviewing and showcasing leading Canadian companies on the digital advertising, digital marketing and digital retail space.

And there is a full program of no less than 35 speakers over the two days of the show. Some that we figure will draw a crowd include: Peter Aceto, CEO of ING Direct on ‘The Social CEO’; Duncan Fulton, CMO of Forzani Group on ‘Selling Social to the C-Suite’; Asif Khan of Location Based Marketing Association on, naturally, ‘Location Based Marketing’; Dave Fleet, vice-president digital, Edelman, on ‘Getting the Inside Onside – Communicating with Bloggers and Influencers’; Simon Conlin of Cartilage on ‘To QR or Not to QR, the Response Code Debate’; and many more.

“We wanted to cover three Ws with the basic sessions,” says Ron Tite, heading the speaker sessions. “These are ‘Why’ it’s critical to your business, ‘What’ you should focus on, and ‘Who’ can help you do it. Then we get into more advanced topics such as exploring your target markets, Canadian brands, and successful case histories.”

So, while DOOH is missing, it looks as if the organizers have put together a solid first show for those interested in online and mobile.

“Maybe DOOH will be part of the show next year or the year after,” says Lipkin. “Or maybe it should be an entirely separate show.”

Title sponsors of Dx3 Canada are Casale Media and Moneris Solutions.

Dx3 Canada, billed as ‘The Canadian Trade Show Where Business Gets Digital’, will take place Jan. 25-26, 2012, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Hall.

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