CHICAGO—On the eve of the Digital Signage Expo in Chicago, the Self-Service & Kiosk Association held its first meeting of a new council formed to help embrace the mushrooming digital signage industry.

Nine representatives from supplier companies and two from deployers joined association leadership to brainstorm strategies that would help promote the makers and users of dynamic digital signage and at the same time grow the ranks of the association by adding new members.

"If you look at the DNA of every great industry, you see a great association," said Alex Richardson, association president. "This meeting was a very good start in expanding our role in one of the fastest growing parts of the marketplace."

Surrounded by notes from the meeting are David Drain, executive director of the Self-Service & Kiosk Association, Alex Richardson, the association's president, and council member Matt Sheehan, vice president for Redbox Automated Retail.

The association, which launched in 2001 as Kiosks.org Association, changed its name in 2005 to recognize that self-service had moved beyond kiosks. While there was no definitive talk of once again rebranding, many touted the easy fit of digital signage among the traditionally "heads down"—or very individualized—technology that has been the exclusive focus of the group.

"They're related," said David Roscoe, president of ADFLOW Networks, who said his business of helping deployers control content with a Web-based interface grew by 300 percent last year. "I go back to the experiences themselves: How many touchpoints can you have with a customer? You can start with a digital sign, and end with interactive self-service."

The council set preliminary plans to talk four times a year, twice in person and twice by conference call.

Other points of agreement:

  • The council should reach out to others for participation, including agencies, systems integrators, analysts and more deployers.
  • Members should consider suggestions on how best to mold the association to reflect the new role of digital signage. Plans to alter the homepage of SelfService.org, the association Web site, are already developing.
  • The involvement of companies like AC Nielsen and Arbitron, as well as focused efforts, could help the association pioneer measurement methodology.

Initial Council members include:

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