Back from ISE, What’s the Next Show for Digital Signage?

We could argue the case that Integrated Systems Europe has grown to such a degree it is THE must-attend for people in the digital signage industry, but as many or more people will argued the singularly-focused Digital Signage Expo –http://www.digitalsignageexpo.net– next week in Las Vegas is the primary event.

DSE attendance is just a fraction of ISE, but everyone who goes is there to talk about digital signage and digital out of home, whereas ISE has a much broader scope.

The DSE event has now been around for many years and attracts vendors and attendees from around the globe. Spread over two, three or four days, based on whether you are there for training and education, or just to roam the trade show, DSE packs a lot into the agenda.

The show organizers are very effective marketers and run a slick, polished event. In some respects, they make the show seem much bigger and more important than it really is. Trade shows for other industries draw much bigger crowds, but can look dowdy in comparison.

We’ve been going in some capacity for several years and have seen it evolve and broaden its focus. A few years ago the companies spending the most on trade show marketing were the investor-funded software start-ups. That has evolved and now the largest booths, typically, get put up by the multinational LCD display vendors.

Increasingly, it seems, we’re seeing more and more of the show move away from the noisy software firms and more to the companies that populate the broader eco-system. There have always been a few industrial/embedded PC firms there to get in front of other show vendors as much as end-users. But in the last few years we’ve noticed more and more companies that sell the AV gear (and show up at ISE), as well as creative services, content providers and deployment companies.

The deployment companies always seem out of place in their booths because they provide services and don’t actually have anything to show on an exhibition floor … other than themselves.

Advantech is not formally at DSE with a booth, but our gear is “under” the hood at partner booths. Trade shows are big undertakings in cost and resources, so we have to make tough decisions each year about what can be managed.

 

Regardless, we pay close attention. Here’s some of what we expect will come out of the show.

 

Creative/Content: We expect to finally see a broad selection of tools and services that allow end-users to self-produce polished content and creative, and new kind of information feeds that get beyond RSS-driven news tickers.

Android: Google’s own operating system for smart devices will find its way into the booths of some software and hardware companies that want to move off the x86-based Linux and Windows world. They offer low-cost propositions, but as we always caution, low initial costs often lead to high operating costs because of reliability and a lack of remote management capability.

Interactive: Touch-based screens have been around now for years, but we expect there will be demos using gesture and mobile devices as controllers.

Shiny Objects: Call them bright shiny beads. Booth candy. Demo bait. There are always companies showing something that seems visually amazing or eye-catching. Virtual paintbrushes. Screens controlled using Kinect gestures. Robots with screens on them. The question that always pops into one’s head, a few minutes later, is “Why?”

If you are going, please travel safely, and enjoy the show. We’re looking forward to all the reports in writing and video that will come out of it.