NEC Display is a returning sponsor of the annual Preset Group Mixer at DSE, and also one of the bigger exhibitors and supporters of trade show week and sector, as a whole. I asked NEC’s VP Marketing Ashley Flaska to give me a rundown on what’s up this year, and what trade show-goers should look for in a couple of weeks.
Q: What is NEC showing at DSE this year that you want to highlight?
A: Video walls and touch-enabled displays are just two highlights in NEC Display Booth No. 1300 this year.
While video walls have been around for a while, expectations are still growing. As the seams between large-screen displays shrink, the opportunity for further creativity grows, and it’s no longer just about disseminating information. People want impactful digital signage. For example, retailers want to redesign their store environments so they can set themselves apart from their competition and establish industry leadership. Creative video walls immerse consumers into brands and into the stores themselves. But just about any industry or organization trying to establish a brand impression is ripe for a video wall.
Meanwhile, smart phones, tablets, laptops and other “smart” communications devices are driving a truly interactive society. That interactivity involves one of the most fundamental of human senses, too – touch.
In the past, interaction was passive – digital screens displayed content with a call to action. Buy this burger for $.99, for example. But now the interaction is active and physical – between a consumer and his/her device.
Still, it’s more than just interacting with a device. Today the interaction could be using NFC (near-field communications), augmented reality, or other technologies to connect one’s device to a large digital screen or video wall.
We’ll be showcasing such features in our booth at this year’s show.
Q: What’s been the hottest vertical for sales?
A: Retail, Quick Service Restaurants, Hospitality and Airports are among the hottest verticals. NEC Display’s pioneering efforts in video walls and narrow-bezel displays have drawn a lot of interest over the last six years.
Q: Are end-users getting more sophisticated?
A: End-users have always had a sophistication about them. However, with more data available through the Internet and social networking channels, they have become more savvy in understanding products and the differentiators that will make them heroes in their deployments.
Q: Do you see NEC going beyond OPS panels and having a “smart” embedded display at some point?
A: NEC Display prides itself on innovation and delivering the coolest products and services to the marketplace. Just recently, NEC introduced an OPS (Open Pluggable Specification)-compliant media player based on the Android operating system. The approach makes these screens into smart digital signage.
The new internal ARM-based digital signage media player, called OPS-DRD, runs multiple video formats and HD content, and is targeted for use with all types of digital signage from static content to dynamic graphics.
Liking the OPS Android product. The unit will need to be tweaked and fine-tuned, but as an all-in-one will be significantly easier for software CMS guys to use than the proprietary “smart signs” of Samsung and LG.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 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.