If you’re producing a trade show, it helps if the subject matter is captivating. The fast-growing Digital Signage Expo (DSE) certainly has that going for it, since the exhibitors’ no. 1 objective is to command attention and leave impressions on their audiences.
DSE 2014 is poised to break records, according to Chris Gibbs, president and COO of Exponation LLC, which produces DSE. “We’ve eclipsed a lot of our records for exhibit space and square footage. This should be our largest event.”
DSE, which launched in 2004, set an attendance record in 2013 despite snowstorms shutting down airports in the Midwest and Northeast causing a surge in “no-shows” among pre-registrants.
Gibbs, who moved the 2014 event to the Sands Expo after several years at Las Vegas Convention Center, hopes the weather will be less of the story this year. He tells CI he expects the rapidly evolving technology to take center stage:
Can you predict what the major trends on display at DSE 2014 will be?
From what we’re hearing from both exhibitors and customers, as far as trend lines, is it’s going to be 4K UltraHD technology as well as interactivity. Both of these are going to really take off.
We’ve already seen a lot of interactivity, but I think with the use of the smartphone and tablet technology being so prolific consumers are used to and feel the need to touch any type of digital surface that’s in front of them digital signage technologies are going to be almost forced to become more interactive by nature. So interactivity is by far one of our largest trends.
Secondly, there’s 4K. UltraHD came relatively quickly over the past 12 to 18 months and we’ve already seen a lot of it at trade shows. As prices continue to go down we’ll see more and more use of UltraHD technology, and it really just brings that kind of “wow” to the experience. As you get closer to a screen the pixels it makes a big difference. So with interactivity and 4K we’re going to start to see both of those together becoming even more prolific, because if you’re up touching a screen and the pixel ratio is twice as good as it is now or three or four times, it’s going to be that much more impactful.
Explain how the hype surrounding 3D in digital signage a few years ago is far different than what we’re now seeing with 4K.
4K is much different than 3D because of a couple of things. One is you have much more capital investment in the technology with major manufacturers pouring a lot of money into the design and advancement in screen technology, and we’re seeing this amongst all the major screen manufacturers
That’s a lot different than 3D. 3D is interesting but it’s not going to have the capital investment focus that 4K is having.
Secondly, it’s really about the experience and, if you were at DSE last year, you saw some of the 4K monitors there and it is drastically different than anything you’ve ever seen. It’s like looking through a window, a very clear window. And they’re getting these up to 84 inches … Developing content is the next hurdle. We’re starting to see more and more of that becoming available. I think that exponentially as more deployments go that way and we see more acceptance of [UltraHD] you’ll see more content as well.
What advice do you have for digital signage integrators as they prepare for 2014?
Education. Education. Education.
I think education is paramount in this industry. Digital signage is a lot different than traditional AV products. A lot of things go into it. It involves content, screen height and integrates into other aspects of [clients’] marketing, the whole omni-channel effort.
We have a pre-show course that we’ve developed for integrators. It’s about “Does this make sense for me?” and “Does this work in my integration business?” So it’s for AV technical professionals.
We also have lunch-and-learn roundtables which are small groups of 10 that will sit around with one facilitator to talk about this in more depth.
But the bottom line is education. It’s seeing the offerings and staying up to speed with what’s changing because it’s a very, very, very evolving market.