#DSE2016 Day One

I’m at the Digital Signage Expo 2016 today and tomorrow, and it’s a huge show again this year. Here’s a real quick rundown of the big stuff I noticed at #DSE2016, day one.

Keynote by David Meerman Scott

Author, speaker and marketing guru David Meerman Scott came by to give a talk on real-time marketing and sales. If you missed it, he’s all over YouTube and has ten books, so you can catch up. He said that digital signage is second only to the financial markets in how industries see value in real-time. He’s a big fan of how digital signage is ultra-local, ultra-real-time, ultra-relevant, getting right down to individual consumers and connecting with them in ways that are helpful and unobtrusive. He had a few tangents on things he sees all the time that drive him nuts: stock photography (like women laughing alone with salad), technobabble or ‘Gobbledygook’, and other stuff that dehumanizes the process.

Glasses Free 3D

Lots of booths showing this off. The technology has been in popular use since 2011, (the Nintendo 3DS),  but the push seems to be to make it bigger and visible from more angles. It’s bigger – but the angles are still a problem, making it a headache to walk past (the primary interaction on a show floor).

Funny though – there are quite a few slot machines in town that use the tech, since the patrons sit stationary in front of them. I poke fun, but Vegas has found a use case. Return on investment, however…

Better UI

I found multiple booths that had rolled out a massive platform update in the past month, and none impressed me more than Enplug. The entire UI is based on the Google Material guidelines (or selectively pilfered, I can’t tell). It seemed inviting to use, easy to understand, and got out of the way of what I needed to do.

They’re proud enough of it that they’ve dedicated a major portion of their booth to a massive display to show it off. Go take a look tomorrow.

That being said – I’ve also heard from multiple long-term industry folks that companies that are very proud of their clever UI transition to a managed service business model after a few years. End users may not appreciate (and use) the new design as much as they hope.

Google’s New Clothes

Google started pushing Chromeboxes for digital signage at DSE 2014 in a booth run by Intel. In 2015, they moved to their own massive booth, showing off their many partners in the digital signage space. This year, their booth is a podium, a lot of chairs, and a list of scheduled talks.

Some might say that Google’s presence is lessened at this event, but I’m convinced that they’re going to walk away with plenty of mind-share. The talks are every 30 minutes, and they were consistently full. And I don’t discount the business intelligence and research that’s always ongoing at Google – I’m sure they moved their booth strategy at this and other events with damn good reason, backed by big data.

During David Meerman Scott’s talk, he mentioned a bit from his book Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead. He talked about how Deadheads could bring their own recording equipment to a concert (in stark contrast to every other band touring) – and that those bootleg recordings became the jumping on point for droves of new fans. Google seems to be taking a page from Scott’s book and the Dead’s style, giving away free talks at DSE, and reaping the benefits with a bunch of new converts. Not a bad idea from some of the brightest minds on the show floor.

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