And here I sit at Gate B15, getting the heck out of Las Vegas, at least for a while. Nine days on the ground here is tooo much. By about 2 PM walking around the LVCC I was done, but kept on visiting people.
I wandered into most corners of the floor, yakking with a bunch of people about what they do.
I had first extensive look at the NEC VUKUNET digital signage software platform. I’d seen the ad management stuff in a demo, but not the actual platform for planning, scheduling and running a network. Not bad. It is absolutely not in the same league as some of the truly industrial grade stuff out there for big networks, but it has quite a bit going and looked pretty easy to drive.
Then I wandered over to LG and had a look at their newly-minted SignNet full-meal deal service. This is the digital signage in a box thing, but with a leasing program built in, hosted SaaS service, templates and built-in content from CNN. The CNN stuff is Media RSS by the looks of it. I am not a fan of news on many networks, but will say this is well presented with big fonts and a relevant photo, running full screen. I didn’t even see a ticker option. Woohoo! It is definitely an entry-level offer, but packaged as it is LG’s resellers should be able to wrap their heads around it and offer up something pretty polished to the countless small projects out there.
I wandered into the AMX mega-booth and poked around at its digital signage offer, which it sells like all the boxes and cables it peddles to the AV and systems integrator world. I couldn’t get anyone to come and talk to me, but eventually a sales guy herded a mob of people and started showing it off. The solid state box appears — appears — to be another variation on the SpinetiX/Texas Instruments player, but with it own software. It’s intriguing to see these monster AV guys coming into the sector.
The biggest AV integrator in the US – Florida-based AVI-SPL – is also in the game now, having announced what they call Digital Media as a Service. AVI is huge and has a LOT of clients, and is pitching their capabilities and the advantage of a shared infrastructure. The new business unit is run by Joyce Vogt, who has been around digital signage for years and – based on getting to know her the last few months – is a force of nature. Nice woman. And very sharp.
I didn’t see a whole lot that seemed all that new. The panels are thinner and sharper. There is 3D stuff everywhere and all these bins with the goofy glasses. None of the autostereoscopic (glasses-free) 3D displays looked any better than they did a year ago. But one day they’ll be great, I suppose.
I did run into a small California marketing/document publishing/software firm called Insteo that was demo’ing automated Twitter feed displays that sniffed out and blocked naughty words through the software. Right now, moderated Twitter and other social feeds need humans to watch them all, which costs a lot of money. The CEO conceded it is still very early days and much needs to be sorted out, but if they had a service a lot of networks could plug into a tune to venues, that would be very marketable.
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.