InfoComm 2011 – Day 1 Impressions
June 15, 2011 by Dave Haynes
Resting my aching feet and back after a day of wandering about and chatting through the first of three days at InfoComm in Orlando. The international reception across the road promises the chance to “partake” (who still uses that word???) of drinks and snacks. Thirsty me is highly likely to partake.
Day 1 at least seemed really busy on the show floor, and the big AV vendors and distributors had mobs of people in their booths from the moments after the door opened.
This is a show for technical people and there are aisles and aisles of booths filled with gear a digital signage guy will never use. But for the ops and deployment companies, this is their Toys r Us.
NEC cleverly did a flash mob thing in the main entry hall as people were streaming in this morning. I think they were all hired dancers and I didn’t have to experience the brain-scarring horrors of some friends at that company shaking their collective booties.
Samsung did a nice job with it’s booth with vertical stacks of thin bezel LCDs in columns, with well produced content cascading up and down. They stopped a lot of people in their tracks.
Samsung people have always tended to say their MagicInfo software is small business entry level stuff not meant for serious digital signage projects. Fair enough. But that made it to then wander by the booth and see an area devoted to MagicInfo Lite.
How much lighter could it get? Anyway, what they have was, I thought, pretty slick. Samsung has put some media player capability into an LED-backlit panel and made it capable of being updated by USB drive. I yanked out one USB drive and put in another and the new content list fired up very quickly and played smoothly. There is software, controlled by remote control, that allows for day parting and scheduled stops and starts.
LG had a minimalist kinda space set up, with acres of carpet, and was showing it’s own new entry level ezSign product.
Of the digital signage vendors, CoolSign (located with Haivision) was very busy, perhaps in part due to the team of pretty young things in tight blue jumpsuits drawing drop-jawed guys. And the espresso machine.
Speaking of coffee, the booth for Atlanta-based Visix was pouring full coffees and was pretty much jammed all day. They sell through the reseller channel, and have a huge footprint in higher level education, so this is their big event.
I had a look at Prysm’s displays. Nice. And I like the potential for the multitouch interactive wall of Microtiles that was the focus of Christie’s booth. A bit of a surprise news Christie has it’s own media play out software now for the Tiles. I’m not sure the sector was begging for yet more software options, but if a user has simple needs and doesn’t want to shop around, he or she no longer needs to.
The most impressive booth I saw had everything to do with the persistent refrain now that video walls are the hot ticket in digital signage. A company called Salitek has a wall that is 16 seamless Orion plasma displays wide by four high, in a gentle curve. It is huge and the content was produced for the wall, not just found somewhere on a hard drive and slapped on. I liked.
They have promised me a good pic (using iPad so getting pix on it is a challenge).
I also spent some time with Bob Rosenberry, who is leading digital signage efforts for HP. A company as big as HP doesn’t make noise anywhere as easily or readily as start-ups, but I got a good sense from Bob that the is a lot going on. They have vast sales resources and some are now dedicated to a layered retail offer that is all about customer engagement and includes digital signage. The proof will be in what shows up in the marketplace, but Rosenberry says there is a lot going on behind the curtains.
I didn’t get to the EnQii-Minicom booth, but if you are following things, the merged company will now be officially called ComQi, which may sound like Comkey or Comchee. Not sure. I would have gone with a handle that removed any questions about pronunciation (I heard EnQii buffered many times), but …
More time to look in depth at some stuff tomorrow. BIG hockey game tonight, and possibly 1 or 2 pints.
Digital Signage is indeed busy at Infocomm 2011.. Page 1 profile in the “show daily” today. Very active “DS Showcase” demonstration areas and beautiful show floor theatre with about 45 20-minute presentations, case studies, interviews, etc. over 3 days – each being video-ed for download from the InfoComm website).
50/50 audience of system integrators (who are clearly moving into the space) and end users (often the IT rep.).
The recurring theme is “cooperation” noting that “nobody has the complete solution.” Capable product/service contributors speaking short-hand with the project prime supplier carries the day.
It is indeed exciting and inspiring to be at InfoComm.