At the end of February, the digital signage industry will have its eyes on Las Vegas, as the 2008 Digital Signage Expo opens its doors. Formerly known as Digital Retailing Expo, DSE 2008 will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center Feb. 27 and 28. The show is now in its fifth year.
"DSE 2008 has exceeded our expectations with one-third more exhibitors than the show we staged in Chicago this past May," said Chris Gibbs, executive vice president of ExpoNation, the company that puts on the show. Gibbs said DSE 2008 expects approximately 150 exhibitors.
The 2008 show is shaping up to be the largest DSE to date, something that industry members see as a reflection of out-of-home communications in general.
The Scala booth at DSE 2007 at Navy Pier in Chicago.
"The show is a good barometer of how the digital signage industry is growing," Gibbs said. "It is the largest show about digital signage globally."
The conference portion of the event also has grown and will feature 30 sessions covering digital signage and interactive technology in verticals such as retail, advertising and marketing, hospitality and public spaces, as well as presentations on Digital Signage 101 and an in-depth Tech Track.
In keeping with presentations from high-profile companies (the 2007 Expo hosted a speaker from Google), the Breakfast Super Session will feature Mike Hiatt, director of in-store media networks for Wal-Mart Stores. He will speak about the past, present and future of Wal-Mart's vast retail media network and how digital signage networks can help retailers better communicate with their customers and improve the shopping experience.
Last year, the Digital Signage Tour of deployments in Chicago sold out and was deemed a huge success, so DSE is offering another tour this year. The four-hour tour will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 26 and will focus on hospitality, casino, retail and public space deployments around Las Vegas. Each stop will feature a presenter who will give background information and answer any questions on the project.
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The tours seem to be a hit, but since we can't all travel to see digital signage deployments around the world DSE is hosting a Global Virtual Tour following the Las Vegas tour. The presentation will feature case study presentations from providers about some of this year's most significant worldwide deployments.
The conference's keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Andrew Lippman, associate director of MIT Media Lab and director of the Digital Life Consortium. Dr. Lippman's speech will talk about the future of digital screens in our culture and give an in-depth look into MIT's "Living the Future" program, where the students will add interactive windows to campus buildings, in an effort to mimic what the future may hold for colleges.
In September, Digital Signage Expo was named one of the 2007 Fastest 50 by Tradeshow Week Magazine. The award recognizes the top 50 fastest-growing tradeshows based on total net square footage and percent growth between 2004 and 2006.
DSE 2008 will be co-located with the Interactive Technology Expo, a spin off that was created last year. In the past, Exponation had tried to group all of the interactive technology providers together, but as that area grew it realized a separate pavilion was needed. The ITE will be located in the center of the hall.
"There was a strong push to establish a pavilion for interactive technology, and it sold out right away," Gibbs said.
Digital signage providers, deployers and industry members are also gearing up for what looks to be the largest DSE to date. The Expo also serves as a favorable place for providers to announce new products and services.
DynaSign is one of those companies, and plans to launch the Dynasign Desktop, a screensaver-based digital signage system. The system will utilize idle desktop screens for companies to communicate with employees and visitors.
Dynasign exhibited at the 2007 show, and has big plans for DSE 2008.
"Digital Signage Expo is the summit of this young and vibrant industry," said Jimmy Dun, vice-president of business development for DynaSign. "It is crucial for the mainstream companies to take advantage of this main event to showcase their products and unique strength among their peers. It is also a great opportunity to have some face time with our clients and to meet our prospective customers."
The show also has a reputation for drawing attendees from large companies (on the global level) looking for more information on digital signage. This year, representatives from AT&T, BP, Target, Reuters, Nike, General Motors and more are expected to be in attendance.
"Digital Signage Expo is becoming regarded as "the" industry show for any companies who are involved in and/or interested in digital signage," said Danielle Rumpf of Cisco Systems. "Also, this show's primary focus of digital signage (versus it being a smaller focus within a larger conference topic) means that the right people — exhibitors, speakers, partners, attendees — will be participating."