Last year, Digital Signage Expo (DSE) was all about 4K as the newest digital technology on the market.
This year attendees will travel to Las Vegas, where the show will return to the Las Vegas Convention Center after only one year at the Sands Expo, with one question on their minds: what’s next?
No doubt 4K will continue to have a strong presence on the show floor, but we can expect to see enhanced 4K technology and a wider array of uses for those screens, says Chris Gibbs, president and COO of Exponation, which produces DSE.
We’ll also see more of last year’s missing element: high-resolution content for that high-resolution hardware.
What else can we expect from this year’s show, and why is it ever more important for integrators to attend? Gibbs spoke with CI about what’s in store for DSE attendees from March 10-13.
Last year UltraHD and 4K were big talks of the show. Do you expect that to be the case this year? And what other tech trends do you expect to emerge?
The trend is certainly going to continue to grow, but it won’t stop there.
Looking at trends over the years, we can say that Plasma and LCD technology were big ones. But once they became pervasive, we started seeing the same technology with different sized screens, custom screens, rectangular ones and circular ones. We even saw transparent screen technology a few years ago.
This year, expect the scope of digital screens to once again be transformed, only this time, it’s with 4K technology. Manufacturers are continuing to bend their screens in different ways, shapes and forms. Screens are also becoming more touch-enabled. So not only are these displays 4K, not only are they bent, but now they’re interactive.
Last year, we started coming up with UltraHD and 4K, and now that’s starting to hit the consumer market. The problem, though, is content.
Media player manufacturers are beginning to develop more content for the innovative screens we’ve seen in previous years. I expect to see 1080p content on 4K screens and more touchscreen capabilities on UltraHD technology. This makes for a whole different immersive experience. Content is the big player this year.
Another trend that is beginning to emerge is how digital signage is being considered in the architecture of a building – it’s no longer a second thought. Even before a building is built, digital technology is being thought of as part of the building process – as part of the environmental process. Now, architects come to DSE. We’re seeing a lot more [people attending] from the design community.
The technology is no longer limited to this idea of, how can I make money, how can I advertise. It’s about the experience – the customer’s experience, the visitor’s experience, the traveller’s experience. People are walking around [DSE] thinking, hey, I want to incorporate this screen into this building.
This new way of thinking has inspired Exponation to produce a new show called CorpComm Expo, dedicated to businesses choosing to educate and inspire its staff using digital technology. The first CorpComm Expo event will be in late September 2015.
Above all, though, you can expect to be excited. As DSE focuses more and more on the end solution, it has catered more to the end users. Not everyone walking the show floor will understand the ins and outs of the technology, and exhibitors understand that. Manufacturers have, over time, evolved their booths to be less technical, and more exciting. It’s about attraction, rich content, and really wowing attendees.
With BrightSign recently announcing a player that’s aimed at what they call the “low end” of the digital signage market, can you talk about how both the high and low ends of the market are maturing as we approach DSE 2015?
Truthfully, both ends are evolving. Google has one of the larger booths [at DSE this year] and is showing its Chromecast media player. Small media players like this one are compact, often solid state, fanless, quick and easy, and they attach to the back of a screen. This is going to become more and more prolific.
Large, complex video walls are going to be able to be more robust with a higher end media player. But if you have a small retail chain, the installation is not as complex and it could be that a less expensive, simpler media player would do the job just fine.
So there are needs for both. It depends on the number of signs, the complexity of the screens, the size and resolution of the video wall, so many things go into this decision.