A new conference has bubbled up for the industry this fall, this one called Interactive Digital Signage Technology and slated for Sept. 21-23 in Baltimore.
It comes on the matching dates of the 2nd Four Winds Interactive conference, called Forward, that will run in Denver.
The event is being put on by Active Communications International, Inc (or ACI), a Chicago-based company that is in the business of putting on events tightly focused on particular sectors or subjects.
If this sounds familiar, and you have been around the digital signage industry for a buncha years, you may recall there was a Toronto company called Strategy Institute that did a very similar thing – running digital signage-centric events amid a calendar of events through the year that was all over the place in terms of subject matter.
In the case of ACI, the signage event is on the same month as ACI does events on mineral fertilizers, lubricants, European dredging, arctic shipping, and stroke. So these are folks that are good at running events, but aren’t exactly deep in knowledge about our little, fringe industry.
I got some answers from Alena Sanders, the ACI staffer producing the event …
Q – This is the first one, correct?
Sanders – Yes, this is our first conference on Interactive Digital Signage Technology. ACI has already organized a number of conferences on technological trends, so we are far from newcomers to the technology field. Our events are a two-day, case study-based industry events that create a meeting place for crucial sectors relevant to the industry.
Q – Why digital signage – is there a back story that would have led the company to decide on that industry?
The idea to organize a conference on Digital Signage actually came to us when putting together our Smart Commercial Buildings event that will be held in Denver, July 20 – 22, 2016 in cooperation with CABA (Continental Automated Buildings Association). Digital Signage nowadays is a must when considering a new development project and it has been a big part of an architectural study from the very beginning. It’s not limited to a display on the wall, it is a branding tool that transforms a facility design. As we are shifting toward intelligent and connected cities, interactive signage is becoming a big part of this process.
Q – Why Baltimore?
A – Baltimore is a great location for an event on Digital Signage since it is just an hour from New York. This past spring, Baltimore hosted Light City – a festival of light, music and innovation. Premiering in 2016, Light City Baltimore was the first large-scale, international light festival in the United States, homegrown right in Baltimore. Light City provided a backdrop for the celebration of ideas, ingenuity and creativity through art, music and innovation. Our fall event will be a nice bridging follow up to an idea of innovations through technology and we will also invite local representatives to share their experience with the usage of digital signage technology at this event. Last but not least, part of our event will be a tour to newly opened Visit Baltimore tourism center, great example of indoor installation of interactive displays as well as architecture implementing digital signage within the project.
Q – How is this distinct from Digital Signage Expo, which has been running for more than a decade?
A – Our events are not trade shows or big conferences. We aim to organize streamlined, but more focused meetings with up to 125 participants. We believe that a smaller audience offers more space for interaction, networking and creates personal relationships between speakers and participants. Speakers hold 45 minute long presentations of non-concurrent, classroom-style session focusing on specific case studies which may include: planning, implementation, expansion and best practice. Our media or event partners are more than welcomed to have a significant impact on the program and speak at our meeting!
Q – Why should people attend and what’s the profile of a target attendee?
This is a unique opportunity to meet experts who will share their best practice examples with our audience. This event will give participants an in-depth look into the latest trends in indoor digital signage and its effective use – from planning a project, through implementation to the content management.
You can hear about projects such as #837NYC SAMSUNG – BUILDING A FLAGSHIP STORE from Michael Torres AIA, Senior Associate/Technical Director and Project Architect, Gensler and Joe Hammett CTS-D, Senior System Designer, The Sextant Group.
You can discuss strategy for ‘future proofing’ a project – implementing interactive digital signage into a futuristic project. Scott Kushner, Executive Producer from Mediaplace will run a panel with experts on Digital Signage Content Strategy.
Our target audience consist of Commercial Developers, Building Owners and Managers, Education Facilities Technical Directors, Architects, Employee Communications Directors, Corporate Communications Directors, Technology Directors, Corporate Intranets Managers, Digital Marketing Managers, Technology Business Development Directors, Internal Branding Directors and many others.
Q – Is there a pay to play component to this, as companies like Sextant appear to have very prominent roles in the agenda?
A – Speaking at our event is complimentary. Entering a new field is always a challenge and partner such as the Sextant Group contributed to the program with bringing on board some great speakers from other companies such as Gensler or Red Road Media to share their experience.
The agenda includes people from Sextant, Red Road, Mediaplace, Show and Tell, Leyard and Industry Weapon, and the agenda is still getting fully populated with speakers.
I can say from direct experience that putting on an event for this industry is a lot of work, and that three months out is not a lot of time to get ticket sales moving on it. On the plus side, while Baltimore would seem an odd choice, it is located fairly nicely along the eastern seaboard and not that big a drive – not flight – from Philly or New York, and is just down the road from Washington, DC. So some people would not need the hassle and cost of flying.
The big challenge, I think, is the price. It is $1,700 for an early bird ticket and $2,400 closer in, which is a lot of money to most companies, end-users or vendors. DSrupted, which I ran for a couple of years and would have been around the same time, as well, was $335 last year – and THAT took a lot of promotion to sell. This is two days plus a pre-event site tour, not one, like DSrupted, however.
Along with the Four Winds event, there is, I believe, an Invidis digital signage event in New York this fall, and then the New York Digital Signage week stuff after that, and the Digital Signage Expo people have a corporate communications/education event in Chicago in November.