Back at World HQ after a few days in New York doing various things, and finding myself, unplanned, in the middle of the US election.
Though the real story was in Washington – and in certain ways the countrysides of Ohio, Pennyslvania and Wisconsin – there was a pile of media and people in Times Square – everything from what sounded like a Brazilian journalist doing solo standup reports from the sidewalk using an iPad on a tripod, to a giant ABC set on the street, with boom cameras and the whole nine yards of a broadcast studio.
At least some of the big digital boards were taken over for elections coverage, and CNN worked with Obscura Digital to projection map one side of the Empire State Building with live results and graphics. Unfortunately, it was the south side and I was north of there, so you saw were LED lights atop the skyscraper. This is a pic from Mashable taken from lower Manhattan.
I moderated a panel at a small InfoComm Connections conference, as part of InfoComm’s relatively small presence at the New York version of the National Association of Broadcasters show. The event at the Javits is way smaller than the mother show in Vegas each spring, but still quite a big show.
There was some digital signage presence – I saw Tightrope and Triple Play there with booths – but it is very much a broadcast industry event and not something people in the signage industry need to plan around and attend (unless they’re in NYC or a train ride in).
Munich-based Invidis, which does the InfoComm digital signage tie-in events, is working with InfoComm on multiple conferences, and kinda figuring things out. There are plans for a series of signage-focused educational sessions in Orlando in June at the mother ship show, and based on what we talked about, they should be quite good in terms of themes and content.
I was also in New York to grab some podcast interviews – so if you are an avid listener (and assuming my Tascam recorder was as trusty as usual) you’ll hear in the coming weeks great interviews with Michael Schneider of ESI Design (that company does amaaaaaazing experiential work) and Phil Lenger, the industry vet who runs Show and Tell and has the most impressive booze collection I’ve ever seen in a meeting room.
I also caught up with Anthony Woods (known by many in this industry as Woody), who is now working with an enterprise mobile applications company called Kony, which he says can do the sort of “phone to big screen – big screen to phone” that’s been talked about forever, but rarely done … at least done well.
And I had a good chat with Sam Losar, the CEO of YCD Multimedia, which went through a scratchy financial patch as the company had a change-out of investors. He had to go into very lean and mean mode for a while, but he says they’re now stable and solidly financed, business is growing, some staff that were trimmed are now back, and he’s looking for sales talent.
The company is the software under the hood of some of the more ambitious digital signage projects in retail, but apart from the Microsoft stores, agreements restrict YCD from making much hay about those jobs. I’ll be doing a podcast with Losar, as well, in the coming weeks.
In between meetings, I did a walk through the street level section of Macy’s on 34th, which had a big digital transformation a couple of years ago. Some good stuff, but there’s no cohesion, so much visual noise, and so many example of bad display decisions and shoddy installs. This place should NOT be the reference point for anyone looking at how to “do” digital signage in big retail.
1st time back in Macy's in coupla years. Some tech & content looks good but lotsa low rez, badly calibrated, misaligned crap. pic.twitter.com/dRgCnCGFup
— 16:9 (@sixteennine) November 10, 2016
Traveler tip if you are going to NYC anytime soon. There are much, much, much needed renovations and new builds happening at nasty old Laguardia Airport. But all that construction makes it even worse to get in and out of. I always just take the subway up towards LGA and then a shuttle bus, because the subway doesn’t get stuck in traffic jams like taxis and Ubers do. But the bus that usually takes 10 minutes was at 40 minutes and counting as it finally crawled on to the bridge over the highway to the airport. The driver suggested people would be better off hopping out and walking to the terminal, which I did.
Due to increased traffic flow at LaGuardia Airport, Please allow extra time when traveling to the airport. 
— LaGuardia (@LGAairport) November 11, 2016
If you have options, you might want to look at JFK or even, ugh, Newark.