I’ve been aware of the Digital Trends Showcase that’s been running for a few years now in Toronto, but schedules have never allowed me to go see what it was all about.
This year was different, for a couple of reasons:
1 – I wasn’t already set to be somewhere else;
2 – It was in Niagara Falls, Ontario instead of Toronto, which despite being further from World HQ that downtown big city, it is a much more pleasant drive and experience than crawling along the clogged arteries of the metropolis and hunting for parking.
The event is kinda-sorta a trade show, but kinda sorta not. I went the other day and did a walk-through with a couple of the companies that do the event – Dot2Dot, which is the master reseller for Scala in Canada, and Carnyx, a marketing communications agency based in Toronto. Set up in a hall at the Niagara Falls Convention Centre, the showcase pulls together a set of diverse vendors and show what’s possible with relevant, finished solutions.
They did some wine stuff, some golf stuff (both are big parts of the tourism business in that region), but what interested me most was a video wall set-up that used sensors to serve up content based on people coming near the wall, and at what part of the wall.
The set-up was a wide 2 by 5 set of LG narrow bezel LCDs, with a bank of little laser sensors sitting in 3D-printed cases. If people were just walking by or seeing the display wall from a distance, it was running a set of rotating media files on the full display canvas, about the Niagara Parks Commission, which has several attractions golf courses.
But if people walked up to within, perhaps, 10 feet, one or more of the sensors were tripped and a timeline visual would pop on the screen, and content notes would appear in the screen region above the tripped sensor.
Clever stuff, and less finicky than tech like gesture or touch.
The various vendors also pulled together some interesting applications around things like attractions and information desks, and arguably boring but important stuff like dynamic pricing shown on outdoor displays at parking lots – with surge pricing on busy days.
Nice little event. I wondered about moving the event 90-120 minutes away from the heart of the beast to the Falls, which has a lot of hotels, motels and mini-golf spots, but not a lot of brands or decision-makers. But I was told a lot of people were coming out for the day, and that the organizers also targeted a lot of local and regional businesses. So while overall foot traffic was lighter, the guys felt the quality of conversations was a big jump up.