Five Vendors I Wish I’d Seen At DSE

March 16, 2012 by Dave Haynes

The challenge with going to a trade show in an industry I’ve been around since we were making displays with stone tools and mud is that it is really hard to walk through that place and not end up in lengthy chats with friends.

So two days was nowhere near enough for me to have a good look. I navigated most of the floor last week, but walked right on by all kinds of things I really should have seen.

The videos that rAVe [Publications] does on the show floor are as low tech as one might imagine. “Here’s your mike. Start telling me about your pots and pans when I nod my head. You’ve got maybe a minute or two. Go!” That sorta thing.

But I really like them, because for the past few days, I have been grabbing a few moments to watch many of them and seeing stuff I otherwise missed.

A lot are just straight sales blabber about new screens that are faster, thinner, brighter cheaper, or software version upgrades. It speaks to what I heard from industry friends about not seeing much that was truly new.

A few of the videos are just head-shakers as the poor sales guys go on about the uniqueness of their offer, even though what they have isn’t unique at all.

But I did watch several videos that made me wish I’d had the time to stop and hear a bit more.

In no ranked order:

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Anacore Systems

In simple terms (always a good move with me), the sales guy says the software solves the common boardroom problem of one screen, one laptop, one projector. With this software, 20 people can hump their laptops into a meeting, plug in and show what they have on a screen. There are deep collaboration tools like live annotation, a content management system layer and cloud-based recording and viewing so that somebody can remotely see what’s going on.

I’m not completely sure what the tie-in is with digital signage on the output side, but it would certainly have a potential role in the planning and execution when you could start to share creative, site plans and so on across a group.

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inStall Xpress (The InSite Group)

Other companies may do this, for all I know, but I liked the demo InSite Group did that showed how its ladder and tool belt guys top on site with an Android-based tablet that is pre-loaded with a web form or app that steps them through the whole process of going on site and hanging/banging screens. I like how there is a checklist to step through, and not skip by, integration of proof of install photos, and local manager sign off forms that all kick back to the main system.

Nothing’s perfect, but this can likely save a bunch of how-to and where-are-they phone calls and minimize the botched jobs.

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The guy who does the demo is great, and while getting content triggered by RFID readers and QR codes is perhaps not all that new, the video does a good job of stimulating ideas. There were a few demos on the floor of companies showing QR code scans that captured web pages and displayed them live on other devices (Insteo, Symon, for example). This one actually allows control of the screen, which was different.

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Another guy with good, confident delivery and what looks like, as he asserts, very powerful interactive software. On a video wall, he shows how the Whirlbridge software allows multitouch users to run as many as 50 HD videos and interactive pieces simultaneously with no evident lag in performance.

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I did have a detailed chat with Erica Schroeder of Cisco of the morning of Day 1, but then I had to run and I never did get back to actually see what she was telling me about … which sounded interesting.

Me and Hellberg (disclosure) did some work with Cisco last year as they were pulling together thoughts around digital out of home and public spaces like mass transit, in a new effort called iServices. But we never saw the outcomes, and what they’ve done here is, I think, pretty interesting when it comes to information terminals in New York.

There are dozens of videos here, and if you have time, it’s a good way to see what you didn’t see … particularly if you never even got to Vegas.

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