Digital Signage Summit Europe Lightning Impressions: Day 1
July 6, 2023 by Dave Haynes
The challenge with large trade shows is being confronted by a lot of ground to cover in a finite amount of time, leaving very little time to sit in on the educational components. So my first experience, and day, at Digital Signage Summit Europe was a refreshing change.
There is a trade show component, but it involves maybe 30 vendors – I’ll look the real count up when I have more time. That’s the sort of tally that allows attendees time to visit before, after and between educational sessions.
So I spent most of Wednesday at DSSE in Munich in educational sessions, including two I was involved in as a moderator.
My friends at Munich-based invidis Consulting invited me over to the event this year, having had to say no in the past because of other business or personal commitments. I’m glad I came, as it is a well-run and valuable event, put on in partnership with Integrated Systems Events, which many people in the pro AV industry will know as the same company that runs Integrated Systems Europe for the trade associations AVIXA and CEDIA.
DSSE runs at the huge Hilton directly attached to the Munich airport, so it is very handy for people throughout Europe to get in and out by air, rail or car – even flying in and home the same day if needed. You can get off a plane and be at the event in a matter of 10 minutes, through I gather yesterday was a bit of a mess flying out of London, and perhaps elsewhere.
I was able to run up to my room midday, and be back downstairs again between sessions. I can’t do that at most events.
There are about 500 people registered and many of the sessions involved packed rooms and good content.
One of the attributes about DSSE that impresses me is the number of C-level people who attend. I was at a couple of panels Wednesday that involved pretty much all of the people who run Europe’s largest integration and digital signage solutions firms.
Chris Riegel, who runs US-based STRATACACHE, was also involved, albeit via video conference from I’m not really sure where. I did that interview along with Florian Rotberg of invidis, and asked him how the weather was in Mordor – but I think that one went over most heads.
He said lots of Chris Riegel things – smart but blunt. If he thinks people are idiots, he just says it.
I was up late and now scrambling to knock something out, shower and get back downstairs, so this will be quick in terms of impressions.
After writing about it a few times, I finally saw in person LightnTec’s flexible LED displays – think of tough vinyl tarps used for things like building hoardings, but stick thin 16mm pitch LED modules on them with velcro. I suspect some attendees would see the low-rez display in the Hilton’s airy lobby and think it was pretty outdated for a business in which sub 2mm is common, but I like the special purpose aspect of this product. Imagine buildings under renovation clad with active LED instead of plywood, and then painted or covered in printed graphics.
I had a good chat with UK-based Now Signage, which uses something called React JS to make its CMS software work as a full player across multiple platforms – so it is more than just a limited web-based player (which is common).
The company was co-located with another UK outfit – Amino – which has long manufactured commercial grade set-top boxes, but is growing its business and footprint in digital signage. Think rugged, fanless and hyper-durable, but priced not that much above consumer set-top boxes.
I will have more time today to spend at the vendor stands, as the conference wraps mid-afternoon. On Day One, they ran all day and up until 5:30, followed by a mixer and big buffet dinner at a beer garden in the airport plaza.
That mixer went on for many hours and involved many beers. I had to pull the ripcord and get out of there after 13 hours of talking, and went for a quiet glass of wine in the mostly empty hotel lobby bar. Then the party moved over to that bar, and I was one with a pillow at 2 AM or something.
The networking and industry relationships side of this event is incredibly valuable. I met a pile of people yesterday, and renewed friendships with others I only get to see at shows.
I had more great chats, with old friends like Tomi Paajanen of Finland’s Valotalive, which is focused on workplace digital signage, and Trison UK‘s Peter Critchley, the Harry Maguire of Digital Signage. We may have worked that bit out at the bar after a glass of two. Football fans will get the reference.
I also met an Italian company called LiveSignage. I wasn’t aware of the CMS software firm, but it is based in Tuscany, so I may need to go for an in-person business visit, and stay for a few days. My understanding is some nice, giant red wines come out of that area …
A shower, and coffee on an IV drip, are much needed, so off I go. More later.