ISE 2016: Day 2 Impressions


When I return home this weekend, I fully expect my spouse to inform me that she arranged for the kid next door to write a digital signage CMS while I was away, because everyone else on the block had done one, and it would have been embarrassing if we were the only ones without one.

My rough count after two days of Integrated Systems Europe is 15 or so CMS platforms I didn’t know much or anything about … and I am a guy who gets no end of emails from companies that have developed Content Management Systems and want some free blogger love.

I was walking through the minimalist Samsung booth at RAI Amsterdam today, looking things over, when I saw an area devoted to Samsung’s Smart Signage program, A couple of the positions were occupied by established partners, but there were at least three positions featuring completely unfamiliar names. So I asked, “What do you guys do?”

“We have a digital signage CMS and we ….”

I’ve had that conversation numerous times in the last two days. It’s really quite crazy. I only half jokingly tweeted that there may now be 47,000 signage CMS solutions out there now.


It’s pretty easy to develop a system that will play a set of media files according to a schedule,and to dress it up with other enhancements. There are always exceptions, but generally speaking, a company that’s been developing a signage solution for 15-20 years is going to have a more robust and powerful set-up than something worked up last November. That’s not at all suggesting the new ones don’t have some great attributes. They’re just, generally, new variations on the same thing.

A couple of very nice French guys showed me their set-up this morning, It was tidy and very serviceable, and had some good thinking about permission-based content updating. But it was mostly being marketed on the basis of it being easy to use. Like the other 47,000. I suggested they needed to figure out a thing they did well, and ideally a thing only they did or serviced.

It’s kind of awesome, as a consultant, to work in a world of oversupply and under-differentiation. End-users take a look and yell “Help!!!”

But, it’s not so awesome when I get asked by clients, “What’s your opinion on ____”

Like I can even remember all the options, never mind their attributes.

If you are researching digital signage, because you are thinking about writing a signage CMS, don’t. We’re good. Got it. Covered. We’ll call you.

In other impressions:


  • Panasonic debuted its version of a system on chip display panel. The interesting wrinkle is that it is not just an HTML/web player like Samsung Smart Signage or LG WebOS. This one is Android, running version 4.4. So nine companies that already do Android are already listed as supporting the system. I’ll look a little/lot deeper at this next week, and see if the CMS my spouse had written is compliant;


  • Samsung’s transparent OLED display was very nice, and nicely done. A four-pane clear window that abruptly came alive;
  • NEC did an LCD video wall with three side by side 98-inch 4K displays. The displays are gorgeous, but the bezel was big and noticeable. The future may well be more in fine pixel LED for this kind of scale;
  • The meeting room sign market is a mini version of the signage CMS scene – already no end of vendors. I track 23 on and need to add at least three more, based on what I bumped into this week;
  • There are vendors here, certainly, that also do content – but just as in North American shows, content creators are likely here looking. I don’t think I saw anyone marketing that service.

There are still 2 more days of the show, and I don’t know how the booth bunnies do it. Four days of being chained to exhibit stands, saying Hi and fielding endless, repetitive questions, is murderous. One more day for me – my focus: innovation.

Belgian white time.

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


12+ year-old blog and podcast about digital signage & related tech, written by industry consultant, analyst & bullshit filter Dave Haynes.
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Dave Haynes