InfoComm 2011: Day 2 Impressions

June 16, 2011 by Dave Haynes

Oh my aching tootsies. The Orange County Convention Center is one big building and InfoComm fills a lot of one of the halls. A lot of walking. A lot of standing.

Who knows what actual crowd counts are, but Day 2 seemed pretty much as busy as Day 1 at this massive show for the AV nerd crowd.

It only takes a handful of chance encounters to eat up the day, so once again I did not see all I wanted.

General impressions: Many, many companies have stuff that is a little better, faster, cheaper, and slicker. But I didn’t see anything that was even close to something that would rock the digital signage sector.

I had more time to look at what companies like SignageLive, Omnivex, x20, Visix, BrightSign and Gefen have to offer. Lotsa good stuff. But the astonishing thing is the price range, overall, on the show floor. I saw stuff that was pushing out very nice video on a reliable box, and using easy, capable software that cost, all in, sub $700. I saw other stuff that was three and four rimes that cost, but definitely not three or four times the capability or quality.

How some of these companies can sustain such high premiums, I dunno.

Two things, in particular, caught my eye today. One very slick. The other just very different.

The Finnish firm MultiTouch had a very interesting, different spin on multitouch displays for interactive apps. It uses pattern detection sensors to respond to hands instead of just fingers, and has the logic to sort out where a palm is and orient images to the direction of the user hands. It also has no limits on the number of users on a multitouch surface, and allows images to overlay each other.

Really interestingly, the first commercial application of this tech in North America is not in some high tech store or Vegas hotel, but in a chain called Acme Brick.

The largest U.S.-owned brick company has virtual design center stores that enable customers to visualize how tile, carpet, granite, and hard wood would appear on their home floors. Customers can design their tile product at home, print it out with a 2D tag, bring it to one of the Acme stores and call up their designs on the MultiTouch displays.

It is pretty interesting stuff, though the tech is not cheap by most measure.

Meanwhile, SF Bay area startup MonkeyLectric has developed LED tech that is applied to the hub and spokes of bicycles to create a spinning, digital variation on flip cards. As the bike wheels spin, the fast-rotating LEDs create visuals with or with or without motion. The business model here is nighttime advertising on bicycles, which probably seems kooky until you think about all the pedi-cabs out there, and countless guerilla marketing firms.

The systems cost $2,000 so there is a bit of an entry barrier, but the possibilities are kinda interesting. I look for stuff that’s different, and this definitely was different.

One more, albeit abbreviated, day to go.


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