My DSE 2017 Impressions: More People; Better, Faster, Brighter, Thinner Tech

I don’t have the numbers on DSE 2017, but my general sense from conversations with show people is that the counts were up over last year – good news as the numbers were sort of flatlined the last few years.

There were definitely more exhibitors and more overall floor space, though the back of the hall had quite a few of those micro offices that vendors in some cases took instead of booth space, or had in addition to booth space. That’s all, for example, that Google had this year.

It looked like the access cooperation thing with GlobalShop – your badge for one show got you in the other – probably brought in some end-users and potential partners, but I’d theorize that the much slower day 2 owed to people walking DSE on Wednesday and then heading to the other end of the strip Thursday to walk GlobalShop.

Just a theory, though I certainly bumped into people doing just that.

One sign of the slowness on Day 2 was the roundtable area. My industry roundtable talk – which focused on stories from my childhood – was a full table, but most of the ones in my time slot were either cancelled or had 2-3 people.

Thursday might also owe to the Peerless AV party at a LV Strip nightclub. There were 700 tickets issued and that thing was crazy.A late night and heavy heads the next day. I can personally attest. Midnight bourbons BAD!

The booth previews and PR roundups run in this space ahead of the show told a lot of the story of what companies were showing. I had numerous conversations with industry vets where the chats, AS ALWAYS, moved quickly to “So, did you see anything that impressed you?”

Sure. Much did. But if you spend all of your time looking at and thinking about this stuff, it’s hard to stumble across something jaw-droppingly new and different. Digital signage technology is mostly about bigger, brighter, faster, thinner, and easier … and there was lots of that.

The displays these days, in brightness and scale, as well dimension, are stunning. But they’ve been like that for a while. OLED is beautiful, though LG is the only manufacturer really driving that tech and it is still wickedly expensive.

What was very noticeable were the increasing numbers of companies marketing fine pitch LED. There were, as always, a few companies over from China, but I saw several companies – like Indiana-based Neoti – that have seen the growth potential in this and showed up with a booth stressing they are US-based for sales, support and service.

I chatted with an LA company called ADaboy, mostly curious why it was entering a signage CMS field that is so crazily overcrowded. Turns out they already had very high-end video wall software for things like theatrical and live events, and clients were asking for a CMS on the front of it.

I did not spend anywhere enough time stopping in on booths because two days disappear on me and I committed myself to some things that chewed up time.  Some other quick observations, though:

  • The display guys at the front were always busy;
  • AOPEN always had a pile of people in its booth;
  • Same with ScreenFeed and BrightSign;
  • Same for AdMobilize, which does video analytics but off a $200 Raspberry Pi device;
  • I’m sure many other vendors would also say things were hopping, but I talked to some others who were not, and not happy;
  • I never get why some of the gear guys – with stuff only integrators know and care about – show up at DSE when InfoComm is really their crowd (they seem to spend their days poking at their smartphones);
  • There were gimmick products, as always. A company from Japan with a big ATM-sized thing reflected a monitor’s screen off a mirror and through a filter, so that it kinda sorta floated in front of you. Kinda neat, but you saw nothing if you leaned left or right. The thing was interactive through a Kinect sensor, but it took me about 20 seconds to get an error message floating in front of me, and three techs scurrying over to get it back working. It seemed really far from commercially-ready, and even then, for what?
  • I was impressed with the little $130 Android stick – commercial-grade – Navori was using to drive a whole 3 by 3 video wall. Crisp, no dropped frames. It shows what happens when resources go into developing a native player, and not just a browser running off Android;
  • I thought a lot of companies upped their games in terms of booth design and content on screens;
  • The show this year was in the LVCC’s south hall, which has its pros and cons. The lobby is very tight and the food area is smaller. On the other hand, getting a taxi or Lyft (buh-bye Uber) is relatively easy over there, versus the larger north hall. And it’s a short walk for a post-game drink at the Renaissance hotel on the corner of the lot. Next year, the show is still in that building, but upstairs. The DSE folks aren’t thrilled about that, but in trade show season, the bigger the show, the better the hall you get. Smaller shows get the leftovers.

DSE 2018 is again on the last week of March and, if I am remembering correctly, that’s the case for the next 2-3 years. If you have been attending for a few years, you’ll know the dates have bounced around and been as early as mid-February.

It was great to see so many industry friends and meet new ones, as well. Thank you to Andrea Varrone, Geri Wolff and the rest of the show team for their hospitality and organization.

I’ll write up separate posts in the coming days on specific things from the show, some news, and a wrap on the mixer (don’t have the pix back on that yet).

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

11+ year-old blog (and now podcast) about digital signage and related tech, written by industry consultant, analyst and bullshit filter Dave Haynes.
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Dave Haynes

1 Comment

  • Jeremy Gavin says:

    From Screenfeed’s perspective this was the best DSE show we’ve had. You were right that we were always busy. I nearly lost my voice the first day and day two we were steadily busy until 2:00. I was ready for a break so I could walk around and check things out. Found the Bluefox.io to be very interesting and Guillaume tells me they are selling a lot of it. Our team loved the non-digital ‘Breakfast’ sign that would flip discs from white to black to show messaging or imagery from a live camera – but its just a gimmick. Would love to see the content area in the middle of the show floor though. Looking forward to next year already.

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