DSF’s Coffee And Controversy Draws Record Crowd

October 31, 2018 by Dave Haynes

Just back at World HQ after a lightning quick trip in and out of New York – mostly to attend and moderate the Digital Signage Federation’s annual Coffee and Controversy breakfast event.

It was at Google’s NYC offices – which are predictably nice. The tech giant has a terrific events auditorium/presentation center/whatever they call it, with full-time, high-quality AV and lighting, and comfy seating. It’s next to the company’s dining area – which gave me and others a glimpse of life in a company rich in employee perks. No cafeteria at employers in my past  ever looked liked that, or was free. That said, my kitchen is nice and my home office is maybe 12 feet away.

I believe the crowd was 225-ish, which is the largest Coffee and Controversy to date. The first one, a few years back now, attracted 30. The photo above was kindly provided by David Keene of digiDaybook.

Chris Riegel of Strata-something, Jeff Hastings of Brightsign and Beth Warren of Creative Realities were the panelists. All the feedback I got was very positive. Riegel – whose brands include Stratacache, Scala, Real Digital Media, X2O and Walkbase – unsurprisingly lobbed the most grenades, talking about tight-fisted retailers and the perils of using “smart” displays from certain manufacturers.

Two or three people suggested to me after that the panel could have been MORE controversial, but in reflection, it’s just not the most controversial industry. It’s not like we’re manufacturing arms or using slave labor (unless you count summer interns). I’d also promised Hastings I wouldn’t bring up his unfortunate period in jail.


The good news, if you were not in the crowd, is the very nice and helpful women who run the AV for Google’s theater kindly recorded the proceedings and gave me the big-ass audio file. It’s off with my podcast editor already, and I’ll have up on the 16:9 Podcast this time next week.

In other Digital Signage Week observations (keeping in mind I was in and out in a blink), the annual PJ Solomon party put on by DOOH-focused merchant banker Mark Boidman was jammed with industry people, including many Canadians attracted by the siren call of free drinks and free food.

I managed to squirt out of the PJ crowd in time to Uber down to ComQi’s offices for its open house, which was also crammed with people. Last year, ComQi took over a retail storefront, but this year they were were able to show their pots and pans at expanded space in its longtime NYC offices. Now owned by giant Taiwan display manufacturer AUO, the company now has a showroom filled with a variety of screen options and ideas.

The NYDSW thing goes on all week. Details here: http://newyork2018.digitalsignageweek.com/

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