More on the new DS event tied to InfoComm …

November 5, 2010 by Dave Haynes

Quick replies came back on a couple of notes sent around after news that InfoComm has added a new digital signage-focused event for next June.

Christie Liu confirmed the Strategy Institute will not have an event in advance of or tied to InfoComm next year. Too bad, but the industry has grown a lot since the firm started these events. Trade show conferences  offer a lot or more of what the Strategy events offered. However, they have something pretty unique in the fall investor conference and could build on that.

Chris Connery of DisplaySearch sent a note explaining the how’s, what’s and why’s of his company’s new plans to be part of InfoComm in Orlando.

“The co-location of our commercial-display supply-chain event is somewhat coincidental to the discontinuation of the Strategy Institute event, I believe,” writes Connery, Vice President PC and Large Format Commercial Displays. “Because of the bigger scope of our event and the nature of the fact that we are an integral part of the FPD-ecosystem (as opposed to being an events-company) we indeed anticipate that prior attendees of the Strategy Institute events would now attend this event.”

InfoComm was interested in providing their audience with a supply-chain perspective for flat panels and other displays, which is a perfect fit for what we do. InfoComm felt that this part of the industry was somewhat invisible to resellers, VARs, architects and others in the InfoComm world … and that an event like ours would help to link all types of players in the industry together. Who-makes-what-for-whom? Is this important? Is the commercial side of the FPD market big enough to drive R&D specific to digital signage such as super-narrow-bezel LCD displays? Where are OLED displays in all this? How about electronic paper for Digital Signage? Who is constructing new LCD fabrication lines? For what purpose? Will this help bring the price of FPDs down? Why?

DisplaySeach has historically been known as a “flat panel” market research company and this remains at our roots (the FPD supply-chain). In recent years, FPDs have become linked with Digital Signage (versus say Projection-based technologies which had dominated the ProAV space in prior decades). This is especially so when these displays are used in various commercial applications. While I cannot speak for the Strategy Institute or for InfoComm, I believe that the goal of Strategy Institute event was to provide just an end-user viewpoint of Digital Signage, with presentations from key end-market installations.

Me – Yup, the ones I have been to around InfoComm were very much end-user driven.

Our experience is that this concept has been valuable to many, but that the market is so fragmented that it is difficult to build a conference around. For example, many people ask for such a conference but no one comes, or they come and soon realize that the digital signage market is bigger than just one end-market application. Or, they just walk away with the view that, “OK, I get it, every installation is different, but how does this help me make money”.

So just by happenstance, the co-located DisplaySearch event will indeed cover some of those same end-market views, but will more importantly take a deeper look into the FPD supply chain to show not only what was possible to implement for end-users but also what display technologies are helping to enable such installations, as well as the viewpoints of the world’s biggest companies (Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, Panasonic, etc) regarding the use of displays in commercial settings.

As we have done for the past three years with our event, we will also cover components of the end-market ecosystem of digital signage (eg. perspectives from the OOH advertising folks and related fields), as well as other commercial applications such as Higher Education. When a display is used in the hallway of a college, is it a “digital sign” or is it an “education display” – these types of gray areas of taxonomy are things we deal with daily as an analyst firm.

InfoComm is mid-June next year in Orlando.

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