Global Gaming Expo Impressions From A Digital Signage Perspective

October 1, 2014 by Dave Haynes


I went to the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas Tuesday – the first time I’d been at an event geared to the industry that almost entirely drives the economy in that city.

It is not, by any measure, a digital signage show, though it is full of screens running content. But that great majority of that content is running off specialty software for slot machines and gaming tables.

There were, however, several companies from the signage business there, such as Alpha Video (big Scala partner), Four Winds Interactive and clustered together in one booth, the strange bedfellows of Capital Networks, RMG Networks and Signagelive. All three, along with integrator Pacific Digital and newly minted content shop Crown Content, were there as partners with Coloredge, a very large US printing company that is now also in the digital signage business.


Coloredge’s digital signage offer is being run by Tom McGowan, a looooong time industry guy who left Four Winds several months ago. Their pitch is both disciplines from one shop. While a few companies like Federal Heath and N. Glantz have gone into digital and got out almost as quickly, these guys are serious and doing direct hires of veteran people.

The only real correlation would be Duggal, another “visual solutions” company that is print first but also has a dedicated digital signage team.

Vince Mitchell, Tom McGowan and some old guy

Vince Mitchell, Tom McGowan and some old guy

Interesting side note: Vince Mitchell, who started and runs Pacific Digital, is THE guy when it comes to digital signage. But he’s moving to the mainland in a month – relocating to north of San Francisco, to wine country. From paradise to wine paradise. Poor fella. Mitchell said business has grown to a point that he really needs to be on the mainland, though he’ll maintain an office and staff on Oahu.

Apart from the software companies, there were several small to mid-sized Taiwanese media player companies, like DFI Technologies.

The event is all about slot machines and table games and the back-end technologies, supplemented by vendors who sell everything from chairs and carpeting to casino bathroom faucets and surveillance systems. There was also a big hall for food and beverage, where you could nibble away at samples and sip on everything from Pinot Noir to sweet tea vodka (yuck).


The most interesting stuff I saw:
– LCDs curved much more than the ones being marketed to consumers, and built into slots as the full gaming interface. I’d seen these curved LCDs before, but it took seeing them used in slot machines for me to say “Ohhhhh, now I get it.”

– A company, VizExplorer, with software that converts raw gaming data – like usage rates and payouts – on slots and other gaming machines into visualized data. There were several analytics companies there but I liked the visualization that took the service beyond normal dashboards and charts.

Back massages are common at trade shows but for the first time, I saw a teeth whitening booth with six chairs and people sitting there, wearing dark glasses and chomping on the whitener lights (or whatever they are).

– The big display companies are not there, at all, as far as I could see. There were lots of small specialty display guys from Taiwan, China and S. Korea, but no LG. No Samsung. Seems odd given the amount of LCD glass that gets dropped into casinos, but then a lot of is specialty sizes and builds.
– I may have missed them, but didn’t see a single company that does creative. It’s obvious a lot of the machine companies build their own games, etc, but what about all the other creative on a gaming floor?

Is this an event that companies in the digital signage business should be at? Really depends.

Probably not if gaming is not a distinct vertical. The sales cycle is long and expensive, and there are companies already pretty well embedded. There’s also the matter of the well-entrenched gaming software and machines guys who already, quite arguably, DO digital signage on all those slot machine tops.

I went to one seminar but left – like several people – after a few minutes because what the speaker was talking about didn’t line up all that well with the announced topic, data convergence. The education looked solid but was understandably aimed squarely at people who eat, sleep, breathe gaming.

Sending a tag team of a technical person and a business development person to walk the floor is likely the best tactic for companies thinking about a G2E presence. Out of that, they can make decisions about whether going bigger makes sense.

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