DSE Day 1 Impressions: “The Industry Showed Up”

November 18, 2022 by Dave Haynes

Long day, late night, four cocktail parties and a “just one” nightcap that went multiple, so this will be quick, as I need to head back out …

Jonathan Brawn, who has been in this industry possibly longer than old, old me, had what I thought was a really solid observation about the re-boot of Digital Signage Experience, aka DSE: “The industry showed up.”

We were chatting and trading thoughts about the show, and he said observers might make some catty comments about the size of it relative to previous years, or to other shows, but its people, its tribe, turned up in a big way.

The physical layout of the show and exhibitor count is indisputably smaller, but there was probably as many people as past shows. The space looked good and the people who own and run the show, Questex, do a lot of industry events and conferences and have the drill down. The AV for the session I moderated was a train wreck, but that’s on the LVCC people.

I was at DSE East – an attempt to have a second show in a year in Philly back in 2008 or 2009 – and it just didn’t work. It was a ghost town. Not this. I get zero sense this was a one and done, didn’t work thing.

The many industry events in the evening were packed and while there were tons of people I know and have seen at this show for years, there were many others I didn’t know, from all kinds of companies big and small.

Maybe there aren’t all that many end-users as vendors might hope, but this is the one event over here that is genuinely JUST about this industry … and the people in the industry, to Jonathan’s point, showed up to see each other, and support it.

One event like this can be super-super efficient in terms of partner meetings, especially with post-lockdown business travel being even less fun than it was prior to COVID.

The challenge with this week, particularly after three years of no show, is that my day 1 of DSE was mostly about bumping into industry friends and catching up. I had all of one demo, and even though there are less than 100 exhibitors, I didn’t have time to see them all.

One observation, based on a long conversation with them: Google is a lot more serious and interested in this industry than it was seven or eight years ago when it showed up with a big splash … but didn’t do much after. They realize that while everyone knows who Google is, they still have a lot of work to do to build awareness of where they fit.

Hopefully I have more time today, and I also need to get over to the other show run this week by Questex –  LDI, which is all about live events technology and has a pile, I am told, of LED companies over there.

It would make sense, and may well happen, that DSE and LDI are tighter next year – like in one hall and somewhat seamless. Kinda like the big AV shows that have a pro audio section, a lighting section. Walk over a bit and there’s the digital signage section. There are LED display companies at both shows, and given how fundamental LED has become to digital signage, it makes sense to hive them together.

Gotta go. No cocktail parties tonight, which my organs will appreciate.


  1. Stunned says:

    I don’t think we went to the same show…I literally walked and saw the whole show floor in less than 30
    Minutes. What a disaster DSE was.
    Waste of time and money – but the side shows parties were great !

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