I am in Orlando for InfoComm and sitting in on the one-day digital signage conference put on by the consulting company DisplaySearch. It’s well run, but I would not exactly call the place packed. My guess is there is room for 150 and attendance is maybe half of that.
Some interesting observations from various display guys from the opening morning sessions:
Samsung – VP Sales Doug Albregts says despite the efforts of panel sales guys, about 90 percent of the public display business right now is using consumer displays (aka TVs) instead of commercial monitors. It remains all about price.
Samsung – Albregts says cloud-based collaboration tools and content marketplaces will absolutely change the DS landscape and empower more rollouts.
Samsung – Albregts suggests panel and other hardware guys, along with other stakeholders, need to invest directly in projects to jump-start activity. He says Samsung has and would look at funding significant trials in QSR, as in 200- plus venues.
DisplaySearch – Chris Connery says the digital signage marketplace remains fragmented, and suggests the main barrier is not technology, but the absence of go to market know-how.
LG – Dan Smith, the director of digital signage at LG (third guy in that gig in four months), talked about how some end users are just not going to be moved off consumer displays and simple applications. LG has used some existing tech to launch in North America something called ezSign.
First announced earlier in year at ISE in Europe, the service is a sneaker offer that involves using free software to create basic layouts on a PC, or draw from templates, and then load on to ezSign enabled displays using a USB stick.
LG – Smith says the panel industry has been really weak at leasing programs, but that is changing. The rationale is simple: 80 percent of customers who lease products get renewed, while the retention rate is just north of 30 percent for customers who purchase.
Panasonic – All the panel guys were pretty good at not overly pitching their pots and pans, but the Panasonic guy – Karl DeManss – was particularly even-handed in comparing the arguments for plasmas (which he sells) and LCDs. The big arguments for plasma are color reproduction and lifespan, as plasmas are now rated at 100,000 for commercial models. He did not skip past the counter- arguments like weight and 3X power consumption.
Coffee break over. Time to listen.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 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, on Canada’s east coast.