5 keys for surviving DSE
This year's Digital Signage Expo will fast be upon us, so it's well past time to start getting ready for the sensory blitzkrieg that a trade show hall filled with digital signage displays can be.
The annual trade show and educational conference for digital signage in Las Vegas is set for March 15-18, with the Exhibit Hall open on the 16th and 17th. As always, the show's a great time to catch up with old friends in the industry and to see what's new in the world of digital signage.
The show can be a little dizzying, especially for newcomers, so here are five keys to surviving DSE:
1. Plan well.
As DSE Show Director Andrea Varrone makes clear, there's a lot to see: "With over 125 speakers, 40 sessions, 28 on-floor workshops, and 42 roundtable discussions, there is something for everyone at DSE 2016," she said in a recent email. "While there will be new and exciting technology on the floor such as beacons, holograms, mobile applications and transparent displays, there will also be a myriad of digital signage fundamentals for brand new attendees who are planning a digital signage project for the first time.
"New this year is a Self-Service Pavilion, created due to the rising adoption of kiosks and freestanding interactive displays. International attendee numbers are expected to increase significantly. To accommodate these attendees, there will be networking centers on the floor for Korea, Mexico and South America. All attendees are invited to attend the free DSE APEX Awards networking reception taking place Wednesday, March 16, from 5-7 p.m. in the North Hall just upstairs from the exhibit hall in the Las Vegas Convention Center."
In other words, look at the schedule of events, seminars, etc. online and set a schedule before you ever land in Vegas. Then try to stick to it. You won't completely, because you'll get into a really interesting conversation about really interesting tech at a really interesting booth and will forget entirely about that really interesting session you wanted to see until it's too late, but that's ok — it's all just part of the show. (Stop by after the session you just missed to see if the speaker'll share his or her slide deck with you.)
2. Wear comfortable shoes.
The show floor is big and you'll be doing lots of walking, both at the show and at the casino before or after the show or both. Make sure your feet aren't too sore after day one to return for day two.
3. Drink lots of water.
You'll be in the desert. And you'll be walking a lot and probably drinking a lot with all your new digital signage best friends after the show. Be sure to stay hydrated.
4. Brush up on your buzzwords.
Internet of Things. Big Data. Omnichannel. OLED. 4K. ROI. Immersive. DOOH. They all mean something to you and your digital signage strategy, or they should. Be ready to hear them all ad nauseam. But even more than hearing about them, be ready to be blown away by them and some of the really bleeding-edge applications they make possible. Have you seen an OLED display up close and in person? Have you experienced what can happen when you combine digital signage and IoT solutions? In these cases, what happens in Vegas definitely shouldn't stay in Vegas.
5. Have fun.
It's Vegas, baby. Have a good time. But seriously, there's no way you'll be able to see every session you want to or talk to every solution provider you want to, at least not in-depth. Make contacts and make plans to stay in touch to see what these people are developing. Personally, I can't wait to see what kind of OLED displays the display manufacturers are going to have on hand this year, as well as what kind of IoT integrations they've cooked up. The industry itself and what they show at events like DSE and InfoComm are at least five years out from what's in the mall down the street. It's going to be a sight.
Christopher Hall / Christopher is the managing director of the Interactive Customer Experience Association and former editor of DigitalSignageToday.com. A longtime freelance writer and reporter, he's bringing a fresh perspective and critical take on the industry.