So the theory was that because I was not going to be chained to a booth, I for once could really have a good look around.
Didn’t work so hot.
I did indeed see a lot more than usual, but there were a lot of vendors and I ran out of time to have more than a glance at about two-thirds of them. I never did get upstairs for any conference sessions.
Oh well. Here’s what I did see …
SmarterSign – Nice little software company and application I didn’t know existed. Almost the first time I have seen a template library with professional creative. Lotsa companies have template libraries but most I’ve seen look more like free PowerPoint backgrounds. New York company, been around for four years.
Popstar – I don’t think I will ever get the brand name, but then EnQii doesn’t exactly make a connection and they do OK. KC-based Popstar was in the Canvys booth and had some nice interactive wayfinding screens.
Aopen – They had a nice back to back all in one 42 inch LCD display. The thing was only a couple of inches thick because the electronics are in a housing in the top, with the media player. I could see it being used in retail and wayfinding.
Sony – They are getting back in the game in North America with a software platform that has been in use in Europe for several years. There are a few versions but what I liked was the platform that is being used in the Miami Heat arena (and won a DSE Apex award) for tiled wall displays. It was very slick and the cool thing is the media player under the hood is a modified PlayStation 3. Same box, different firmware.
Intel – Had some good chats with Jose Avalos and his team. I like where they are going with hardware and development support that will mean product that is tuned to the performance and device management needs of DS companies.
Cisco – I know lots of people think Cisco isn’t doing all that much but I had enough chats with enough people to draw somewhat different conclusions about what they are up to and where they are going. There are a lot of people focused on the sector and they book quite a bit of business … quietly. They are building out an eco-system of content and measurement partners, which I think is smart.
LG – Some nice new stuff and this is another display company, that through Jeff Dowell as a VP dedicated to the sector, is adding people and tuned product. Stupidly, I had some good chats but did not have a good look at the newest stuff.
Samsung – I did better this time. Russell Young was nice enough to shoo people away and spend the time showing me the now commercial-grade version of the super skinny LED-backlit LCDs. Three sizes. Really nice. I’d been looking at those things but been told previously they were consumer grade and not right for DS jobs. They also have a 1,000 lumens LED projector with, I think, 30,000 hours of life, instead of the 2-3000 you get from projectors with bulbs.
NEC – I had another look at Vukunet. A lot more there than people think, and it’s serious. I don’t know how much it cost, but a big contracted out development team and something like 18 months of work. NEC also has its own skinny LCD (as in wide, but half-height), like the one LG intro’d 2 years ago.
Starmount – Interesting open and modular platform angling at the fast food sector. Tom McGowan drove development and design and calls it Plain Old Digital Signage. It’s pretty sophisticated under the hood though, as Starmount is an Oracle database company.
Aerva – I like the social media angle they are taking. Smart. Finally met Sanjay (CEO).
I saw lots of other stuff but my plane is here … I missed a lot of stuff I really really wanted to see like Four Winds. Arrgh. I also screwed up and missed a couple of slotted meetings with folks. Sorry. Byproduct of the frenzy.
Overall, good, busy show. Well-run and polished. They think through the little things.
Hopefully the whole Hatfields and McCoys association and trade show thing gets itself sorted soon.
Back in LV in five weeks for Kioskcom and NAB. My liver twitched when I typed that.
Safe travels to those still in LV because of the snow out east.
KINDA SORTA DISCLOSURE – Preset consults for a couple of the folks mentioned, but can’t say which. I don’t think there’s any cheerleading in there, but just so you know …
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.