ISE 2019 Impressions From Day 2: Waves Of People, Drinks, Awards

February 7, 2019 by Dave Haynes

This will be terse, as Wednesday was a full day at ISE 2019 – meetings, podcast interviews, booth tours, a mixer and an awards dinner.

Crowd – It seemed slow-ish for a Tuesday but Wednesday was nuts … I’ve been subwaying it to the RAI but a breakfast in central made it necessary to Uber to the venue. Eventually, I got out and walked. I didn’t formally ask but got the distinct impression many people are coming with spouses, doing the show Friday in the morning, and staying the weekend.

Samsung – The company’s booth, which is a whole building, was jammed with people inside and out. I know the company’s stuff really well, which may explain why I was doing an “Ok, nice, right …” kinda thing as I toured the exhibit. This is not a year when Samsung is making a big new product launch, as it was last year when they were showing The Wall, The Flip, Onyx Cinema and a lot of QLEDs.

The company has joined the 8K race and is already touting it as a signage option. It looks amazing but I think the use case for a super-premium 82″ display for digital signage jobs is very finite, because of the hardware cost, absence of content and how viewers need to get closer than they need to be to see the difference.

There was a steady mob, like last year, around the micro-LED display, The Wall. It uses micrometer-scale LEDs and HDR to generate a vast, gorgeous visual. The company had a 292″ version, and I learned there are prescribed sizes for the display based on the width of the LED cabinets in the rear. Two together is this wide, three is that wide, and so on. But if someone wanted to do one that is something like 400 inches wide, that’s possible.

Samsung was also showing some clever indoor/outdoor displays that put a super high-bright display facing the street, and a not as bright second screen, back to back, facing inside a retailer. Meant for windows.

Projection – Film on windows seems to be making a bit of comeback as a signage option. I saw several demos of different ways doing this, and I’d think the reasons are longer-lasting projectors, higher brightness at lower costs, short throw lenses, and a need for projector firms to present more options as collaboration screens and giant displays supplant them in workplaces.

I like Epson’s little light cones. Limited use, though.

I also saw a French start-up doing similar to Perch Interactive’s roots – making interactive projections on a common table, with the camera sensor for gestures embedded with a Pico projector in a pendant light. The idea is these could double as lights at restaurants, and show things like menus and games.

LED – Found more companies doing the hardened LED thing, and even heard it referred to matter-of-factly as Glue On Board. I also had my first chat with a large, successful LED manufacturer who isn’t going down that path, worrying about the impact the hardened epoxy that covers the LEDs (and maybe traps heat) has on the electronics, and viewability.

The other trend I am picking up with LED is some manufacturers – more the Tier 2 guys who are established but not giants like Leyard – are packaging up fine pitch screens with a frame and feet,  so they look like giant TVs. The idea here is, I guess, no-fuss installs that don’t require intricate mounting systems, as that would be done at the factory. Don’t see a big attraction, personally, but who knows.

The Mixer – It went off without a big hitch, with a big crowd and a nice mix of new and familiar faces. There were, of course, Canadians who sniffed out free drinks, but I met guys from as far afield as Croatia. Will do this again. Thanks to IAdea and Samsung for sponsoring.

The Digital Signage Awards – I will write separately about this when I have more time. It was a huge step up from last year, in a lovely hall, big screens, dinner, drinks (lotsa drinks for some!), and well-behaved me, as I had to read a presentation. Full-house, and the big winners were Moment Factory, Publicis Sapient and several others. I presented Chris Riegel of Stratacache the award for Outstanding Individual, which was based on nominations. Riegel, who I sat with, talked about his new 30-storey office tower and joked that he now owned his own zip code. He also said he’s buying low in a city that feels like it is genuinely coming back and primed for big growth.

More tomorrow, as today is a little – repeat little – less jammed. Flying back Friday. Haven’t even peaked outside, but guaranteed it will be cold and raining. Waaaa.






  1. Chris Meyer says:

    Hi Dave, I’m intrigued by your mention of Epson’s “little light cones.” I did a quick web search and can’t find any product that appears to be what you mentioned. Can you provide details? Thanks

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