Looking Ahead TO DSE 2016

December 21, 2015 by Dave Haynes



The annual Digital Signage Expo is less than three months out now, so it’s time for me to have a look at what’s up with the event this year, as well as start planning the annual Preset Group Mixer.

The latter is already somewhat in hand – the venue secure and several sponsors lined up. Details will be out in the New Year, but things will look similar, as we’re back at the Hard Rock on the Strip on the Tuesday night. The one small wrinkle is the DSF having a golf outing that day, which I’d love to join, but depends where it is and when it ends.

I caught up with show manager Andrea Varrone this morning by phone, to talk over what’s new in 2016. Not a bunch, though that owes a lot to not messing with the formula that seems to work.

The show is back at the same Las Vegas Convention Centre hall as last year, and the floor looks pretty booked out. As usual, the display and display mounts guys – the ones with the big footprint products that need room – have the largest, most prominent floorspace by the entry. A few software CMS companies have also booked substantial space.

Notably, the big Google presence in 2014 has been replaced by a teeny temporary office along the back row. Scala, for a 2nd year in a row, is also just doing an office.

I asked Andrea if the corp comms/edu comms show that DSE’s parent company Exponation did in Atlanta this fall, and plan for next fall in Chicago, have any sort of cannibal effect on the main event. She doubts it, and says the plan for these flanker events (my term, not hers) is to move them around.

The DSE folks have acknowledged the demise of the CETW show and developed a self-service area for the kinds of companies that operate on the edges of signage jobs, like transaction hardware. They’ll look even more out of place at this, but the booths are small and it only takes a few solid conversations to get an ROI out of that.

Registrations and exhibitors are tracking to last year, and Andrea says about 40% of attendees will be end-users and another 35% will be integrators.

The awards show that for several years was a dinner, and then last year was a breakfast, is now back to its roots, as the centrepiece of the networking reception (come to this room when the floor closes, we’ve got free drinks!). That’s kinda how I remember the thing being handled in DSE’s early years.

Maybe next year we’ll see a replication of the curiously British, very posh tuxedos-and-showgirls affair the DailyDOOH does with its awards in London each fall.

Or not.

I think the DSE events people will have a hell of a time dead on their feet attendees, who are mostly there to gargle Blue Moons and cabernet, to shut up, listen and applaud. But if the mob has a couple of drinks in them before the announcements are made, there’s potential for it to get both funny and fun in terms of celebrations and crowd reactions.

There are several pre-trade show conferences, run by groups like SEGD (designing experience), Ragan (corporate comms), the DPAA (Digital OOH), PRI (digital retail) and Alan Brawn’s annual primer sessions on the nuts and bolts.

There are also seminars and a pile of lunch-hour roundtable discussions with people who do this stuff. Most of the people pegged to run those look credible, though I marvel at the ability of some people to always, some way, somehow, get a microphone and an audience.

Winter has been anything but brutal here at World HQ. Even if that doesn’t change (fine by me), it will still be nice to pop out of McCarron Airport in a few weeks without a jacket on and big blue sky all around. Looking forward to DSE, as always.

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