There are extremely varied opinions on what the presence of companies like Google, Adobe and Microsoft mean to the digital signage industry.
On one hand, there are people who see these kinds of companies, from outside the formal business, as the ones who will eventually take over. That’s one of the takes German digital signage consultant Florian Rotberg put out there at ISE earlier this month.
On the other hand, longtime observers point to Cisco, in particular, as a big-ass company that, despite its business and marketing weight, didn’t achieve much other than throw in signage as a sweetener for larger network deals in places like sports venues.
Cisco isn’t in the space anymore, though some people there might argue that. I have also heard the company is considering another run at signage as a business vertical.
I mention all this because I am looking at the exhibitor list for DSE in a few weeks, and the only one of those companies that even has a physical presence at the trade show is Microsoft.
The first word of the software giant being at DSE intrigued me, but less so now that I see what the company is doing. Maybe this will change, but at the moment the floor map shows them at the very, very, very back corner in one of those conference room set-ups. So no booth, and no formal word on what brings them to the show. I hear player hardware, which makes me cross-eyed.
Google, which has had in recent DSE shows a substantial presence, has nothing. Same for Adobe. Same for Cisco. I know Google and Adobe have people at the show because they’re registered for my mixer.
Companies big and small can do what they want, but it would be nice to see very large players with very large marketing budgets take on a bigger role and support the industry’s biggest, focused gathering. Google, for example, has numerous companies running signage solutions off Chrome devices, and a product showcase that gets some smaller guys stand space would be a nice touch (as was done the first year Google made a splash).
The challenge, I’d imagine, is getting any attention. Something tells me digital signage and kiosks on Chrome is one of endless relatively small things Google is working on, and not something making CEO Sundar Pichai toss and turn at night.
Digital signage has an ecosystem, and I think companies do well when they work within, know and support that ecosystem. Part of that support should be the shows and conferences.
You can hear DSE show director Andrea Varrone preview the 2018 event in this podcast:
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 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.