NEC Display Solutions is hosting its annual showcase during New York Digital Signage Week. And the most surprising insight came from Rich Ventura, the company’s vice president of strategy: “It’s not just about the screen.”

Part of NEC’s retail solutions, using 17 individual BrightSign players.

NEC’s focus on the overall solution was obvious this year. Each and every NEC product was paired with the latest gadgets that create a complete AV environment. Something else was different this year…the layout. Ventura and his team aimed to create an open arena where people would naturally gather in the center. Of course, the bar was also in the center of the room, providing #AVTweeps a place to meet, network, and enjoy.

The view from the “congregation point” gave attendees a clear view of the cross-section of the myriad solution stations, from retail to collaboration solutions, to an art exhibit by Tabaimo. The favorite area (it gets my vote, too) seemed to be the retail zone.

The zone is made of brick and mortar dreams—everything from hi-bright displays to directional audio to a smart trash can (yes, you read that right). The area showcased solutions from Datapath, Brown Audio, Peerless-AV, Intel, CinemaServe, KeyDigital, Creative Realities, Glass Media, BrightSign, Draper, and, of course, NEC.

As attendees “ooh-ed and ahhh-ed” over the audiovisual, they met with representatives from each company who explained their product differentiators. What was the value of this event, according to stakeholders? The ability to visualize an in-venue situation while, at the same time, learning about the individuals pieces of the puzzle.

What’s more, special events like the NEC Showcase ignite new ways of thinking. Ventura said, “We’re creating a different conversation, going beyond the screen. That’s a conversation we’re having more and more every day.”

The NEC Showcase continues November 2, at SIR Stage 37 in New York City.

Megan A. Dutta is the editor of Systems Contractor News. Engage with live updates from NYDSW via https://twitter.com/SCNmag.