All the pieces are in place and live now for a one-day conference I’m putting on in Toronto, called DSrupted 2014. The day will be focused on the opportunities and implications of disruptive technologies on the digital signage industry.
DS=Digital Signage. Disrupted. So DSrupted!!! My God I’m clever. Anyway …
The event is set for Sept. 17th, at a conference centre in the downtown office block of Canadian telecom giant TELUS. I will have a series of subject-matter experts exploring in detail the services and technologies that are here or on the near horizon, and their implications for digital signage end-users and vendors.
They’ll talk about stuff like ARM devices and micro-computing, cloud and web services, HTML5, display canvases and data-driven content. None of the speakers will get mike time because their company paid for it, and the goal is to allocate an hour each to key topic, leaving time to talk and handle what will probably be a buncha questions.
The people who attend should walk away at day’s-end with a really solid grasp of what’s here, what’s coming and what actually matters. This stuff is really important, and a half-hour talk here and there at trade shows doesn’t really cut it. That’s the big reason why I put this together … because I think it is needed and of intense interest.
I already have a commitment from Google to send their senior product manager for Chrome For Business to talk about the current state and future of cloud services, and Google’s point of view on digital signage. As you may have seen at DSE, Google was there with Intel and Chromeboxes are already being used in digital signage deployments.
I THINK I have another great speaker squared away to talk content and emerging display canvases, and I’m poking away at a prospect list of speakers. I’m happy to hear from others about people they know who would be great, but I will emphasize in ALL CAPS that the last thing I want are industry vendors or any of the usual speaking subjects, me included. The most I will do is intros and moderate/referee a day’s end panel.
If by some freaky chance a speaker is associated with an event sponsor, that won’t mean, at all, that the speaker is paying for mike time. Seen that way too many times and the speakers are almost always weak or awful.
The audience count will be kept to 200ish and there will be just a single content track. The venue is a nice corporate conference centre that is steps from Union Station, the main downtown hub for subway, commuter and passenger rail. It’s also an easy walk from no end of hotels and restaurants, and it’s in mid-September, one of the nicest times of the year in Toronto. It may have even warmed up by then (long winter, crappy spring so far).
It’s very likely there will be a mixer on the night of the 16th, the evening before the conference. One of the sponsors is putting that together and I will let them get it sorted before I say much else.
A website – designed to also work on smartphones and tablets – is now live, as well as an event-specific business networking app for Android and iOS devices. All registration and payment processing is being done online.
Admission to the one-day event is $335, which includes snacks and lunch. I have baked in some tickets that will be allocated to selected students from a pair of university digital media programs. I looked at conference fees and this number seems in line or low. It’s enough to cover the risk, and give the thing some polish.
There are 190 tickets available for sale (some go to sponsors), which is not a lot. So I’d advise moving quickly. The venue has a hard cap of numbers, so there’s not much wiggle room and no end of begging favours come September will work if the thing is sold out.
All the sponsors are already in place. I could have made the sponsor roster look like the back of a 5K road race T-shirt with a wall of logos, but instead the number of sponsors is purposefully low to drive profile and value to the companies that stepped up and helped make this happen.
I’ve never run a conference, but having planned mixers for twice as many people, from three time zones away, this seems easy.
I know: famous last words.
If this event goes off well, maybe this goes on the road to other centers in 2015?
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.