ISE 2018 Pre-Show News And Impressions

The buzz around Integrated Systems Europe is that the show, which is sort of on now but really opens tomorrow, could push past 80,000 attendees. That’s a lot of people to squeeze into the RAI conference center in Amsterdam, even with a jumbo temporary tent out front and a new exhibit are that has taken out most of the food court outside the digital signage hall.

I walked around the hall this morning as stands were getting built – the US shows NEVER let me do that – and chatted with a few vendors who were passively watching the trades and their own techies putting the Lego pieces together for their Hall 8 homes.

As usual, it’s nutty – with the smell of glue, caulking and just-cut particle board in the air, people furiously trying to get connectivity up or screens showing content properly, and everything from frantic ops people to a woman in a Shenzhen booth out cold on the floor as the stand rises around her.

On the way in, I had a quick look at LG’s booth – which has been terrific my two previous times here. It looked good, in a not everything’s ready kind of way. But there is sadly no OLED canyon as there was in Las Vegas at CES a month ago. There’s a slice of one wall of the canyon, I supposed. Still looks good.

The pixel pitch LED stuff that three years ago was in a few booths will, in 2018, be everywhere. I saw one vendor, who I don’t think sells the stuff, using a goodly number of square feet of the stuff as its booth topper – instead of print. As prices keep coming down, I think that will be a common sight and offer in the trade show and event business.

The announcements are popping into my inbox, with news of deals timed to ISE. I’ll note this again – announcing just ahead of a trade show or during means your target audience of press, partners and end-users are likely too busy to read or take in your news. They’re going 18/7. Announce the week before!

Anyway, no one listens to me, and here’s a bit of what I have learned today:

NEC Display Solutions announced the acquisition of S[quadrat], a German LED solutions provider it’s been working with for the last few years. The company’s LED systems for indoor (fine pitch) and outdoor solutions are designed and engineered in Germany, though like every company they’d be sourcing at least some components from Taiwan and China.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the AV industry, says NEC in a news release, this acquisition further strengthens and positions NEC as one of the world’s leading visual solutions provider while supporting a more consultative market approach focusing on in-depth understanding of customer challenges and vertical industry opportunities. The new acquisition will enable NEC to integrate and further develop its LED solutions and continue to develop its professional services and additional support capabilities. By providing a total package of full-service offerings along with its premium display technology NEC can offer end-to-end visualization services to its customers.

Over the past three years NEC has successfully promoted the S[quadrat] product portfolio across all major markets. S[quadrat] has built an enviable reputation for state-of-the art LED display systems that combine high operating safety and pioneering feature sets that ensure a future-proof investment. These are combined with high quality components paired with an innovative design, all engineered in Germany. Customers can now benefit from a long-term LED expertise resulting in enhanced service offerings like Visualization as a Service with a holistic project sales support especially for complex installations including design, planning, consultancy, installation and after-sales support for long-lasting operation and investment security.

Interesting name for the company. Wonder if it will stick …

UK-based Signagelive has a deal with the US media firm Activate The Space to run its DOOH and retail displays on its CMS, using newly released support for Mac OS.

The Apple integration – to run on Mac Minis (long reputed to be great signage players) – was done specifically for Activate The Space. Based on what the press release is telling me, the good news for Signagelive is bad news for the German firm ~sedna (don’t ask me why they have a tilde in the brand???).

“For the past 10 years,” says the press release, “Activate The Space has been the exclusive North American distributor for the ~sedna presenter digital signage software for the Mac. During this time, they were responsible for the sale of nearly 10,000.00 ~sedna presenter licenses used in some of the largest digital signage installations in the U.S.

Activate The Space introduced ~sedna presenter to Times Square with landmark installations such as American Eagle, Express, Clear Channel Outdoor and dozens more. In addition to their outdoor projects, Activate The Space has won numerous awards for their indoor LED installations at Under Armour stores across the country, including the design and integration of the massive indoor LED installment at the iconic Under Armour Chicago location.

Signagelive CEO Jason Cremins says the Mac OS support involves media player code that is a hybrid of a web-based and native player. Signagelive has long taken the approach of getting its software player to run on pretty much anything, with perhaps the exception of some proprietary things like Amazon Firesticks.

Activate The Space is also launching a new sales portal called DigitalSignageStore.com – which will market supported media playback hardware, Signagelive software licenses and supporting peripherals needed to create digital signage systems.

The French CMS firm Telelogos has done a partnership and integration that pairs the company’s Media4Display platform with Quividi, another French firm known for its camera-based audience and attention measurement solution. 

By coupling the two platforms, the content played by Media4Display can be contextually triggered against Quividi’s real-time analytics. Marketers, says a press release, will be able to design customer-engaging experiences, on the basis of criteria such as distance to screen, gender, age, mood and audience’s attention time. They will also benefit from Campaign Genius, Quividi’s new AI algorithm that dynamically optimizes the creative for the most impactful audience engagement.

Christie last week talked about its new Apex LED series and today announced a “value” LED series called CorePlus – with  pitches from 1.2 to 4.0mm.

Christie Velvet CorePlus, says a press release, is designed with a focus on flexibility and affordability while delivering a host of features normally found in more expensive LED. The on-board or remote power options for CorePlus increases installation possibilities while providing efficient heat management and redundancies for 24 x 7 operation. Christie Velvet CorePlus includes a direct mount system, making for quick and easy installation directly onto flat walls – eliminating the need for an additional mounting structure and thereby further reducing total system cost. Moreover, with the new E600 Controller, end users can easily scale to 4K 60Hz.

“Our customers no longer have to sacrifice key capabilities when purchasing a value-priced LED video wall,” says Ted Romanowitz, senior product manager, Christie.

In other ISE things, I went to the TIDE conference today. Packed, and very well run event, though the event was all about design and dwelled on things like lighting design and sound for events and public spaces. Not a lot of digital. Possibly good networking but a hard-core signage person would probably be spending a lot of time poking at his or her phone.

The trade hall opens tomorrow. I have a packed few days and evenings, so we’ll see if there are many updates. Belgian beer or homework? Belgian beer or homework? Hmmmmm …

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

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