Survey: Does The Digital Signage Industry Need Its Own Trade Show and Conference?

February 16, 2021 by Dave Haynes

Some recent conversations and several emails for virtual/online educational and product demo events have me thinking about DSE, and the debate about whether that now-defunct trade show and conference needs a replacement.

I’m not sure reviving Digital Signage Expo as it was presented and run the last few years would make sense. The show always looked good and was seemingly run well (I can’t speak to what happened commercially for various parties when it went down). But it was clearly a show that was not growing, and even before we all got grounded by COVID, it was looking like the 2020 was going to be way down in exhibitors from prior years.

Part of the issue, from my perch watching from the bleachers, was DSE’s position as a catch-all show about a specific subset of technology. Vendors develop products and services that solve business problems, boost returns and make activities and experiences faster, better and easier. Attendees go to trade shows because they’re either looking for stuff that addresses those things, or because they have customers and business partners who have that need.

But I’m not sure, in our inter-mingled, omni-channel world, that direct buyers and integrators/solutions providers think specifically that they need to go to a show that is expressly named and about digital signage. A retail technology decision-maker goes to the NRF Big Show or a retail tech show to source point of sale systems. He or she probably isn’t waiting or looking for something called Point Of Sale Expo.

It’s a big question, and I don’t have the answer, I DO think the industry has a need and desire to gather centrally at least once a year. It’s a business community and people want and need to see each other. A trade show and conference can be hyper-efficient in terms of customer and partner “touches” done in everything from breakfasts, on-site meetings, hotel lobby demos, cocktail parties and business dinners.

A central show also enables vendors to do things like pre-show user forums and training, because it is cheaper to come in a day early for education than to make a trip to a show, and then a separate trip and cost for user-training.

I LOVE ISE and like InfoComm (I’d like it more if it wasn’t alternating annually between a blast furnace in Vegas and heart attack steam bath in Orlando). I think they’re essential for people in the pro AV space, especially the technical people.

But digital signage is just a part of these very broad AV shows. They’re definitely not gatherings of the digital signage clans and probably never will be. Samsung is at ISE for digital signage, for example, but it’s also there in a big way for a whole bunch of other business solutions.

SO … I thought I’d do a survey, seek opinions, and then publish the findings. Hopefully I’ll get enough people responding to generate some meaningful insights. This is not being quietly done for a third-party organization, or anyone else. I’m just curious, as the subject comes up regularly.

I don’t want to capture your email or even your name. Just let me know your point of view by filling out this survey. It might take five minutes, at most.

Here’s the link:

Note – BrightSign photo at ISE 2020 used here ‘cuz it was handy. BrightSign not involved in this survey.

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