DSE East: First year, still first rate

Sept. 22, 2008
PHILADELPHIA The first time a tradeshow is held, there are usually many exhibitor questions flying around. What kind of attendees will be there? How many? What will I get out of this show?

Scott Koller of Wireless Ronin and Chris Gibbs of Exponation cut the opening tape for DSE East.
For many of the exhibiting companies at Digital Signage Expo East, those questions were answered in a positive way. Attendees ranged from digital signage users to A/V integrators and the companies represented were focused on the East Coast, just as Chris Gibbs had originally hoped for.

"We really wanted to give our exhibitors the opportunity to dig deeper into the East Coast market," Gibbs said before the show.

Click here to view a slideshow from DSE East.

Though attendees may have noticed the spacious exhibit hall and lack of huge crowds, exhibitors enjoyed the one-on-one attention they were able to have with attendees.

"At this show we were able to have longer conversations with the attendees," said Andy McRae, director of sales for Scala. "The booths weren't full, but there also weren't lots of people waiting for you to get done with your conversation. We were able to take our time and really explain our solutions."

Here is what Scala and other featured exhibitors had going on at DSE East:

WIRELESS RONIN was one of the first companies to feature the newly-released the 82-inch full-HD NEC screen on display at their booth. The MultiSync LCD8205 has 600 cd/m² brightness and a 5000:1 contrast. The screen also has 178-degree viewing angle for off-axis viewing, which is crucial in public settings where viewers are often viewing from the side.

The MultiSync LCD8205 at the Wireless Ronin booth.
Those walking around the side of the screen might have also noticed an all-new 3D screen from Philips, based on the company's WOWvx technology. 3D content on the screen was powered by Wireless Ronin's Ronincast software.

The screen is an updated version of previous 3D efforts, with improved brightness, viewing angle, and most importantly, the ability to play both 2D and 3D content without any alterations to the screen.

According to Larry Blaney, SVP of Wireless Ronin, Philips incorporated a shutter inside the screen which has the ability to turn on and off according to which type of content is to be run. An embedded file format system determines whether 2D or 3D content is scheduled.

EXHIBIO showed its hardware/software solution for digital signage comprised of two media player boxes, the X-Series and M-Series. Both of these players are custom-built per customer where Exhibio embeds its software and internal hardware into an A-open chassis. The software allows users to divide the digital signage screen to accommodate features such as tickers, news feeds and video content.

John W. Bryan, Exhibio account executive, said that the X-Series is the top-of-the-line model, while the M-Series is a scaled-back version of the product designed for more simple applications.

NETKEY, a provider of digital signage software, demonstrated how that software fit into the workflow of digital signage. The process occurs in four steps: Install the signs, define the channels and media, schedule the content and then review the status and reports.

"Netkey's solution is market-proven," said Bob Ventresca, director of marketing for Netkey. "We're an experienced organization with a solution that's being used by companies today to really impact the customer experience and deliver information to their end users and employees. We have 8,000 screens in operations using our software in leading businesses like Target, J.C. Penney and Bank of America."

New on the scene was NAVORI a Swiss-based digital signage software provider. Representatives were eager to demonstrate the company's Tycoon digital signage product, which Maurice Doran, sales engineer, described as a "mini-SaaS" model.

"Customers can host this software on their own server, then issue it to their customers as a hosted solution," Doran said. "The biggest benefit is the ease-of-use. Not everyone is a tech person, and if the end user can operate the software then its not going to be effective."
EnQii's video wall of Samsung screens.
featured the company's OnSight Messaging system, a Web-based tool that is part of EnQii's RemoteTransfer system. OnSight Messaging enables local site staff to easily post site-specific messages in large digital signage networks. Messages can be policy reminders, schedule updates, staff profiles, etc.
Local administrators have control over localized messages, while staff at the network's headquarters can monitor and control content sent over the entire network.
"OnSight Messaging makes it easy for local site administrators to supplement the content of a digital media network with highly customized messages that appear at their local site only," said Kevin Mulcahy of EnQii. "For example, in a network of health clubs, the staff at each club can easily post birthday greetings for their particular members. Likewise, in a digital media network deployed across a large corporation, managers in branch offices can use OnSight Messaging to create and post local messages that appear alongside the company-wide content posted by corporate headquarters.

SCALA had a strong presence at DSE East, coming off of its Connected Signage Conference held in Philadelphia a day prior to the show. After the acquisition of MISC in February, the company has redesigned its ad scheduling product, Ad Manager, to include both digital and traditional signage.

"With the new offerings, Scala is no longer just a digital signage provider, we're a connected signage company," said Dick Trask, director of public relations for Scala.

Peter Cherna, VP of research and development, gave a presentation on the Ad Manager at Scala's conference and was also demonstrating the product at the show.

"Ad Manager comes from a long history of traditional signage," Cherna said. "It has a very complex offering for workflow management, organizational management, tracking and planning, reservations and booking. It handles all of those aspects.
Expo attendees were particularly interested in DAKOTA AUDIO's directional audio offerings. The company featured a directional sound speaker mounted on the floor. Because the sound was aimed five to six feet above the floor speaker, attendees standing on it were looking up to see where the sound was coming from.

"Your mind tricks your ears into thinking that the sound is coming from above," said Michael Blake of Dakota Audio.

Dakota Audio speakers can also feature software that can adjust the volume based on ambient sound and proximity detectors that amplify the sound as people approach them. The software can also use that data to determine impression counts.

Other event news:

ROKU, makers of the BrightSign digital signage and kiosk controllers were showing off the device, a solid-state, networkable solution for playing content. Software for managing dynamic content comes pre-loaded in each purple BrightSign player and can be created and managed using Microsoft Excel-based programs.

Roku is famous for deployments in Bose retail outlets, where BrightSign powers home theatre displays, and Dollar General stores.

VISUAL SOUND had one of the most interesting booths at the show, where the company set up small areas to replicate digital signage applications in retail stores, auto showrooms, supermarkets and other locations.

"We're getting to a time where digital signage is becoming more cost-effective," said John Walsh, account manager for the Broomall, Pa.-based A/V integrator. "A few screens don't cost $20,000 anymore. It's worth the investment."

A specialist in content over CAT5 cable, MAGENTA RESEARCH's Pete Gallagher showed the MultiView XR-2000, which can send HD content up to 2,000 feet without an extender. This, of course, was demonstrated using a 2,000-foot skew-free cable and resulted in very clear imagery on the other side.

Topics: Tradeshows

Companies: Netkey, Inc. , Genr8 Digital Media , NEC Display Solutions , NAVORI , Exponation , Scala , ComQi, Inc.

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