DSE 2014 Parting Impressions

February 16, 2014 by Dave Haynes


I’m not overly delighted to have left the bright blue skies and warmth of Las Vegas for the gloom and endless snow of Southern Ontario, but 5 days of DSE week kicked my butt once again.

It was time to get out, go home, and get some sleep and rest the back and feet.

I have not seen any announcements about attendance and exhibitor numbers, but I sense they were at least on a par with last year. As has been noted elsewhere, the endless parade of snowstorm up the eastern seaboard likely grounded a few planned attendees.

The vendors I spoke with were pretty happy with the traffic, and the quality of end-users coming through. A few mentioned they’d already re-upped for next year, when it will be in March and back at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

I liked the Sands Expo. It was walkable, and a nicer facility than the LVCC, which is showing its age.

As mentioned after Day 1, I didn’t seen anything that I was in turn telling people they had to see. The guys I usually tap for ideas and direction also didn’t have much for me, other than the experiential Multi Taction walls by the Finnish firm MultiTouch. What they do is VERY cool, but also very expensive and limited in its potential application.

I could use a third day to get around better, but then again, Day 3 would probably blow up on me too.

I heard the keynote on Day 2, by merchandising and brand consultant David Kepron, was terrific and more like a TED talk than a typical DSE keynote.

There were lots of people wandering the floor who were pretty clearly sniffing around for jobs or company changes. There were also people walking around using an iPad as their booth. I am guilty of making a couple of intros from guys that then led to tablet demos, but they were intros for vendors who I thought SHOULD know about a certain tech or service. I do, more generally, think going to a trade show and exhibiting on the floor with a tablet is a bit cheeky, but not so much for start-ups who would never have the cash for a booth.

There were definitely some top tier end-users at the event. I know that because some were at the mixer and I also had direct or brokered meetings with others.

But, a big characteristic of the show remains its efficiency in vendors getting in meetings and demos with other vendors and service providers. It’s a bit like a convention in some respects – like the Rotary convention for digital signage chapters.

There have long been meeting rooms at DSE, but it seemed like there were more this year. I’m not sure that’s just the fallback position when booth plans blow up, or if vendors can directly book these micro offices. For some folks, I think that’s all they really need.

If there is anything that’s clear to me it’s that there is too much going on, too many people to see, for a blogger to “cover” this like trade press. I’d need a team of reporters. So you get wrap-ups and impressions pieces.

I’ll also emphasize one more time for vendors that while making announcements DURING DSE seems to make sense, it’s a flawed theory.

People like me don’t have time to read, never mind cover, your new product announcements. The attendees – the people walking the floor and working the booths – are busy from breakfast to late night. They’re also not reading your releases – and least not in any detail.

Announce the week before. Get people thinking, “I need to go see that when I am in Vegas …”

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