Up really, really early (time zones, jet lag, etc).
I had a client along, and another, different one today, so that limited my free time, but I did get a pretty good look around.
Things that struck my admittedly jaded head:
Most display and software guys are ignoring, oblivious to or can’t build/support interactive screens that behave like smartphones and iPads. The world flicks and pinches content on screens all day long, and this sector is regressively keeping users in the world of the bink-bink-bink interface that emulates mouse controls. Goofy.
I mentioned this to some people who said there were examples here and there of more current methods. You also have the guys who are using gesture via Kinect, but that always has the strong scent of trade show gimmick about it.
I don’t know how many display guys I saw emulating/copying the Stratacache transparent LCD fridge door product, but a bunch. I didn’t ask Stratacache, but have to think lawyers will be reviewing patent filings.
Stuff that impressed/intrigued me (of what I saw):
I like what Insteo (friends, I will concede) are doing with social content and mobile. Have a look.
The newly launched Wave content creation tool for greatly lowering the time and cost for what I’d call commodity creative (what’s on sale this week at grocers) is just smart.
The Planar square displays are pretty neat for certain applications and introduce a different spin on video walls designed by architects. They are marketed as tiles to compete more Microtiles and Prysm products, but are actually LED-backlit LCDs.
Cisco, which often sets my eyes rolling with its efforts, actually has some intriguing interactive products in the field. I liked some of what they are bringing to market for venues like airports.
Stuff that did set my eyes rolling:
Saddle Ranch Digital had several “booth babes” line dancing for ogling guys, playing the same music over and over and over and over. There were some monitors in tents. Strikingly weird and annoying as hell to some unhappy surrounding exhibitors.
Stratacache had a very healthy woman drawing attention by dancing with some Kinect (I think) thing, but it was a novelty thing off in a corner, not the main/only attraction.
The videos that run at the DSF booth are head-shakers. Hard to describe, but trust me on this.
Content at booths is, on balance much better – but there’s no shortage of companies celebrating the stupidity of multi-zoned screens and long text passages in boxes that viewers would need binoculars to read.
Can someone please give me the business case for a video wall that lets people play with a low end paint brush application?
Overall: The show is well run and polished, as always. There seemed to be more booths and more people than last year. And I had people saying there were more actual customers than in the past. DSE has always had a vendors talking to vendors thing going, but I know even the Preset Mixer had banks and brand people in the crowd.
Thank you Net Display for the 3:45 life-saving latte. Baristo in a booth is a nice touch.
I am moderating a debate on interactive this morning – with Stephen Randall (Locamoda) and David Weinfeld (Screenreach). That will be fun and interesting.
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.