Besides the obvious, that you’re back at the Las Vegas Convention Center, what big differences do you expect to see at this year’s event?
The year before last, the hall we were in at the LVC was not big enough to accommodate our education program.. So we could either cut parts of the education program, or move to another venue for one year.
Education is a big part of the show – a lot of this is virgin territory, a wild west. Leaders who come to the podium saying, this is what I learned, are essential to DSE. But this year, we’re back at the LVCC with enough space for our education program, which has 100 sessions this year, and we’ll be there through 2018 for sure.
Our Apex Awards program is also different this year. We usually host it as a dinner, but this year it is a breakfast on the second morning of the show. We hope to see a lot of people come check out the winners, because these displays are so incredibly impressive. The awards ceremony is no longer an additional cost, it’s part of the ticket this year.
We are also tweaking our education sessions this March. Instead of being mostly lectures, about half of them are called Information Exchange Sessions. First there will be a presentation, and then there will be a roundtable discussion on each topic.
A facilitator will bring up an issue or point, and then attendees will discuss and share their experiences. When people have these short little bursts of time and attention while learning from each other, it ends up being so much more powerful than when they are just listening to one presenter.
Communities are hard to build. This isn’t a retailing expo. This is a place where all people – retailers, educators, integrators – can meet one another, share experiences, learn from each other and make connections.
We also have a whole track of sessions all in Spanish this year, as the industry is growing in Latin America and Spanish-speaking parts of the world.
As far as attendance goes, we are tracking ahead of last year – knock on wood. The show has already grown in exhibit space past last year’s final number. And our Innovator Zone, where new companies exhibit for the first time, already has double the number it did in 2014.
Why is it important for integrators to attend DSE? Any advice for them as they walk the isles?
Integrators are very important to the ecosystem. I would say it’s a big mistake not to seriously invest time and resources to make digital signage technology part of your solution set. You would be leaving opportunity – and money – on the table.
As digital signage becomes more prolific, and a bigger part of our lives (which it is going to do), everyone will be capitalizing on that. Integrators need to know this stuff inside and out.
Prepare yourself, because I think there is still a lot of growth coming, much more than we previously thought of this space. As supply continues to drive down demand, you are going to see many more companies entering the market. I mean, even iPads can be used as digital signage now.
If you are an expert in it, with knowledge under your belt, and can bring solutions to the market, you’ll see a huge percentage of your business grow as the years go on.
For more information on Digital Signage Expo 2015 or to register for any of the educational programs, visit www.DSE2015.com.