ISA Looking For Partners In A Digital World

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

When we wrote recently about the 2,300 member International Sign Association’s planning to focus on digital at its International Sign Expo next April, we decided to investigate further, so had a chat with Rich Gottwald, ISA executive vice-president.

Rich Gottwald

“We’ve been studying the market for the last couple of years and have been seeing more interest in digital signage with the customers,” says Gottwald. “Actually we’re calling it dynamic digital signage, in part to differentiate digital signs from networks and from printed signs. We are particularly interested in helping small- and medium-sized businesses learn more about digital.

“We know that big companies like GM know how to go about it, but more and more SMBs want to know more about what’s available and the opportunities dynamic digital signage offers. If it involves simple plug-and-play they can handle it, but if it’s more complex, we want to see where we can work together with digital out-of-home. There may be opportunities on both sides for partnering.”

To that end, the ISA is having a full day of educations with a slate of topics and speakers, a ‘dynamic digital signage day’ on April 3 prior to the three day trade show April 4-6. Here, custom and national sign companies will develop the skills needed to put this powerful new technology to work – and while on the trade show floor, will have the opportunity to meet with and develop relationships with technology partners who can assist them.

On the show floor, there will be a ‘Dynamic Digital Park’ where these technology partners will have a specific exhibit area so it will be easy for show attendees to locate potential technology partners and see what is available that may interest them. And there will also be educational sessions on the floor during the exhibits, as well as a stage for ongoing presentations.

“Electronic message centres that a lot of sign companies provide are a sort of digital signage. so our members have come to digital signage from a different way,”
says Gottwald. “We’re really hoping to attract a new audience because we’re at the stage where we feel there are a lot of relationships that can be made. There will also be a reception where people can network.”

As part of a learning initiative for its members, the ISA is also putting together an online learning centre with training sessions on signage and dynamic digital signage. It will go live in Q1, 2013. Five of these sessions on digital signage are being put together with the assistance of Alan Brawn, principal of Brawn Consulting and current chairman of the Digital Signage Federation.

“We’re going into this very seriously,”
says Gottwald. “We have 2,300 corporate members and have about 550 exhibitors at our Expo. We’re hoping that our Dynamic Digital Park will include exhibitors from the digital signage sector that will see the possibilities that partnership with our members offers.”

Founded in 1944, the ISA trade association’s members include manufacturers, suppliers, and users of on-premise signs and sign products from the 50 United States and 60 countries around the world. ISA supports, promotes, and improves the worldwide sign industry, which employs or directly impacts over 250,000 American workers and more than $49 billion in annual shipments.

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