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InfoComm Wrap-up: Digital Signage Still Booming

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InfoComm, which wrapped last Friday in Orlando, was a living, breathing testament to the vibrancy of the digital signage market as we head into the second half of the year. And on the heels of InfoComm, Digital Signage Expo, at about the mid-year point between their own trade shows, announced this week the results of its first Quarterly Business Barometer Survey, revealing very positive indicators for the digital signage and digital out-of-home (DOOH) industry (see article in today’s News).

There was so much digital signage activity at InfoComm, it’s almost easier to list which parts of the show did not involve digital signage. Starting with the pre-show conferences, which had industry guru Lyle Bunn teaching at several conference tracks dealing with digital signage for the integrator community, through the Manufacturers’ Forum where digital signage dominated the discussion, through Friday when InfoComm held its digital signage luncheon updating integrators on the state of the industry.

The Manufacturers' Forum at InfoComm, held last Tuesday on the eve before the opening of the show floor, featured a panel made up of Thomas Hansen,Vice President, Bosch Security Systems, Inc., Communications Systems Division; Pierre Richer, President and COO, NEC Display Solutions Americas; Joseph Sigrist, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Video Solutions Division, Polycom; and Jeff Porter, Executive Vice President, Scala, Inc. Although certainly not advertised as a digital signage forum, it was hard to tell from the Forum that DS is not the biggest game in AV. From Scala’s and NEC’s viewpoint, this is fairly obvious, but even the audio side exec, Hansen, and the videoconferencing exec from Polycom talked about the growth of the market and the crossover from several verticals (including the fact that the upside in upselling digital signage users to more audio is huge).

The various product Awards given at InfoComm– NewBay Media is the official Sponsor of the InfoComm Installed AV and Rental & Staging Awards– also reflected the importance of digital signage in the bigger AV picture. Both those Awards programs had several winners each for digital signage products (see www.sytstemscontractor.com, and www.rentalandstaging.com for details).

On the show floor itself, the digital signage products on display were too many to list… see our ongoing coverage for product updates from InfoComm. Notable products that were very visible to most of the attendees last week were super-thin bezel new LCD panels from Samsung, new-gen media players from Spinitex and Roku, new software-in-a-box tools from LG, big-enterprise software upgrades from Visix, Scala, Omnivex, and others, and some innovative new mounting products from Peerless. On the business side, two major players brought to InfoComm new heads of their digital signage divisions: Harris, and LG–look for details this Thursday from Digital Signage magazine’s eNews.

Big news at InfoComm–NewBay Media broke the news first at the show–was that Sam Taylor, and Melody Craigmyle, who just two weeks ago were part of the demise of Electrograph story, are back. As we were the fist to report in our InfoComm Show Daily on-site last week, Almo, a leading distributor of consumer electronics and appliances, announced at the show that it is launching a new value-added professional audio/visual distribution division. The new division will provide commercial- and consumer-grade products, such as LCD panels projectors, mounting solutions, etc, and will be led by Sam Taylor who has been appointed as executive VP and COO. Melody Craigmyle is now Director of Marketing for that new Almo division.
Closing out the show at InfoComm, the digital signage luncheon featured keynote speaker Lyle Bunn giving an update on where the industry stands, particularly from the integrator’s perspective. Lyle pointed out that the industry is much more evolved over where it was just a year ago, to the point that most top jobs are being sourced by key integrators and design consultants, as opposed to coming from vendors–sold direct and then being farmed out to integrators. Also giving presentations at the Digital Signage luncheon were Tim Chluda, Sales Manager, Americas, for BrightSign (Roku), who talked about the relationship between the consumer entertainment market and digital signage for commercial AV; and Harris, whose dominance in the broadcast TV market has many lessons to be learned on the commercial AV side.

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