ISE Impressions: Day 1

arch-oled

Integrated Systems Europe is one big trade show – far bigger than InfoComm and many multiples the size of Digital Signage Expo. It has a similar flavour to InfoComm, in that you have lots of companies showing what they do in other areas of pro AV – like microphones and conference systems – that have few ties to signage.

It runs at a set of buildings well outside the city centre, but still a short tram or subway ride. A first-timer like me would do well to write off the first morning there as orientation time, as there is work involved in figuring out what is where and how things all work. The big display guys, for example, are dispersed around a few buildings, so I walked my butt off  Tuesday and never did see Samsung or Panasonic or NEC.

If you are coming this year, or thinking about it for next year, be aware WiFi is not really available as you may be used to at places like the Las Vegas or Orlando convention centers. In a very rare moment of clarity, I used my spare phone with a local SIM card and data to be my personal WiFi hotspot. Otherwise, I wasn’t tweeting or checking messages. Or I was taking out a second mortgage so I could get data roaming through my Canuck carrier.

SIM cost me 5 EU for a gig of data. Worth it.

On to what I saw … Lots.

I tweeted earlier in the day that if your job is signage is about the technical side of this business, you need to convince your boss your desire to go to Amsterdam is not about seeing windmills and drinking great beer (though in my research I can confirm there is some great beer). This post is, in fact, powered by a bottle of Brouwerij De Prael’s Weizen.

Hic.

It’s cold, damp and generally gloomy this time of year, so any suggestion by the bosses that you’re just looking for a free European trip should be pretty easily countered. It’s not the time of year to be in Amsterdam taking in the sights.

You need to be here because there is a lot of display hardware, software and other tech that does not seem to find its way to the North American shows. My measure of walking any show is based on whether I saw and learned new things, and that was mission accomplished by the middle of day 1.

I’ll go into detail in later posts, but my quick impressions:

  • Indoor LED is coming on like a freight train. There are soooo many vendors now and there are plenty of companies large and small with fine pixel pitch displays that look really good from a few feet and pretty darn good even up close. I saw stuff in crazy shapes. Stuff that could show things like maps (and not look terrible). And one Dutch company that was cleverly turning 4 mm pitch LED tiles into wall, floor and ceiling tiles, covered in mirror glass, translucent glass and even wood veneer;
  • I saw, I think, at least a dozen digital signage CMS companies I’d never heard of …the number of CMS companies out there, whatever it really is, would be mind-wobbling;
  • I did not get into many of the big display vendor booths, with the exception of LG – which had some very impressive new products, There were curvy, wavy OLEDS, but the ones that caught my eye were the 86″ super-stretched LCDs, which could be used as totems or super-wide signs on bulkheads. There was an OLED version of those units, but I suspect they cost about the same as a Tesla.

Speaking of Tesla, I saw two taxis – real taxis with those lit-up taxi signs on top – that were Teslas. If the taxi system here has any problem with Uber, it’s probably not because the locals don’t want to slide into the disgusting beaters that typify taxis in a lot of North American cities.

“Would you like a ride in my Tesla, sir?”

Yes, please.

More tomorrow (maybe, probably, depends on evening activities). If you are not on Twitter, here are some of the Tweets from today …

I’m talking to Mr. DailyDOOH at his TV/talk show thingie Wednesday morning at the NEC booth. Adrian asked all of his guests to advance-tweet it, so here goes …

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes

@sixteennine

Decade-old blog about digital signage and related tech, written by industry consultant and shit-disturber Dave Haynes.
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