InfoComm is less than a couple of months out and I have sorted out my air, hotel and press registration, which means I can now start to look at why I am going and what I will see that I have not already seen this year at NRF, ISE, ShopTalk and DSE.
Probably not much, but I tend to have more time to poke around at this event than, certainly, DSE.
What’s interesting to me is looking at the trade show floor plan for the convention center in Orlando. Filling the far left side is the area designated as the digital signage zone.
This is the blank map, with nothing highlighted:
The show’s interactive map provides a view of where exhibitors are, based on keywords. Do that on digital signage and you see vendors are scattered all over the exhibit hall.
These are where companies that come up on a digital signage keyword search:
This is what comes up when you search specifically on digital signage CMS software:
I should note that there are some big vendors – like Samsung – who don’t show up in the digital signage keyword search, but they’re there. So this is a less than perfect glimpse of what’s going on.
This scattered map happens, as well, at ISE in Amsterdam. That show has a digital signage hall, but most of the big display vendors are down walkways, up stairs and around corners in other halls at the crazily jumbled RAI Amsterdam. Samsung’s presence is such that it has its own hall at the RAI.
Companies like LG, Samsung, Peerless-AV, Legrand and others have had traditional positions in the middle left of the InfoComm hall for ages, because they sell into, serve and support other industries, as well. They’re not in the digital signage and likely never will be. Because longtime vendors will re-book the next year before this year’s event concludes, herding them all into one zone would be damn-near impossible.
But it would be nice if this was all a bit more cohesive. The much smaller DSE has its attractions because there’s not a lot of time wasted walking areas that are a little bit of everything – including all kinds of stuff for unified communications, lighting, rigging and church AV that’s not relevant.
To get a sense of how scattered it gets, if like me you keep an eye on LED display vendors:
You are not walking the signage zone, hitting the big displayco booths, and then getting outta there. You are walking the whole floor. It could be argued that the entirely unknown LED companies that show up from Shenzhen, Foshan, Shanghai and Beijing are not ones serious signage people should be paying attention to. But some of the more interesting stuff coming out of LED display comes from these small companies – like the so-called Glue On Board hardened LED modules. The big guys are starting to show that stuff, but it started with lesser known companies like CreateLED, LEDman and Cedar.
If you are going to InfoComm, I will see you there. No 16:9 mixer at that show, but there are usually a few things going on, like a Canadian mixer one of the distribution companies has put on, at least in the past, In Orlando. 95 degrees F and 95% humidity is a combination that screams beer-drinking.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 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, on Canada’s east coast.