ISE 2016: Day 2 Impressions

February 10, 2016 by Dave Haynes


When I return home this weekend, I fully expect my spouse to inform me that she arranged for the kid next door to write a digital signage CMS while I was away, because everyone else on the block had done one, and it would have been embarrassing if we were the only ones without one.

My rough count after two days of Integrated Systems Europe is 15 or so CMS platforms I didn’t know much or anything about … and I am a guy who gets no end of emails from companies that have developed Content Management Systems and want some free blogger love.

I was walking through the minimalist Samsung booth at RAI Amsterdam today, looking things over, when I saw an area devoted to Samsung’s Smart Signage program, A couple of the positions were occupied by established partners, but there were at least three positions featuring completely unfamiliar names. So I asked, “What do you guys do?”

“We have a digital signage CMS and we ….”

I’ve had that conversation numerous times in the last two days. It’s really quite crazy. I only half jokingly tweeted that there may now be 47,000 signage CMS solutions out there now.


It’s pretty easy to develop a system that will play a set of media files according to a schedule,and to dress it up with other enhancements. There are always exceptions, but generally speaking, a company that’s been developing a signage solution for 15-20 years is going to have a more robust and powerful set-up than something worked up last November. That’s not at all suggesting the new ones don’t have some great attributes. They’re just, generally, new variations on the same thing.

A couple of very nice French guys showed me their set-up this morning, It was tidy and very serviceable, and had some good thinking about permission-based content updating. But it was mostly being marketed on the basis of it being easy to use. Like the other 47,000. I suggested they needed to figure out a thing they did well, and ideally a thing only they did or serviced.

It’s kind of awesome, as a consultant, to work in a world of oversupply and under-differentiation. End-users take a look and yell “Help!!!”

But, it’s not so awesome when I get asked by clients, “What’s your opinion on ____”

Like I can even remember all the options, never mind their attributes.

If you are researching digital signage, because you are thinking about writing a signage CMS, don’t. We’re good. Got it. Covered. We’ll call you.

In other impressions:



There are still 2 more days of the show, and I don’t know how the booth bunnies do it. Four days of being chained to exhibit stands, saying Hi and fielding endless, repetitive questions, is murderous. One more day for me – my focus: innovation.

Belgian white time.

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