As the Digital Signage Expo gets ready to open its doors, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Feb. 11-13, there is a lot to process, as the show is set to establish new benchmarks for education, and attendance.
I spoke recently with Chris Gibbs, president, and chief operating officer of ExpoNation, LLC, that produces DSE. Gibbs co-founded Exponation LLC in 2002. As sales manager, he successfully launched the company’s first trade show and conference, LightShow/West, a biennial regional event focusing on commercial and architectural lighting on the west coast. In 2004 he lead the sales effort to launch Digital Signage Expo (DSE), an event focusing on digital signage and interactive technology. The show quickly became the show leader in the growing market. In 2006 Chris was promoted to Executive Vice President, with responsibilities for all of Exponation’s trade show and internet sales activities. He was promoted to president and chief operating officer of Exponation, LLC in October 2008. Digital Signage Expo won a Tradeshow Week Fastest 50 award in 2007, the first year that the show was eligible for this award, recognizing its exceptional sales growth from 2004- 2006. DSE was a repeat winner as a “Fastest 50” event in 2009 and 2011.
Keene: The Digital Signage Expo will be at the Sands in Las Vegas this year. How can attendees and exhibitors understand that the Sands is a huge venue that is ideal for a show like DSE? What unique features of the Sands will be helpful to DSE?
Gibbs: We are excited to stage DSE 2014 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. The Exhibit Hall will be packed and our largest to date – plus it is convenient to the strip hotels and entertainment venues – many of which we have negotiated discounted rates for exhibitors and attendees.
Keene: How do you see registration for DSE shaping up?
Gibbs: Lots of new interesting companies are signing up to attend this year’s event from all over the globe. We are very close to selling out this year’s expo hall and have already broken last year’s square footage record for exhibit space.
Keene: Ad-based networks are continuing to proliferate– but do you see, at the DSE show, more activity (hardware, suppliers, etc) involving non-Ad-based digital signage? (such as used for corporate communications, education, transportation, etc).
If yes, how do you see this reflected in exhibitor mix, etc?
Gibbs: Yes, non-ad-based digital signage continues to grow across all sectors. We see this represented both in the entries to our APEX and Content Awards as well as an increase with attendees in the sectors mentioned above. With the proliferation of mobile and tablet devices, consumers of all types are more comfortable than ever with digital technology. As a reflection of this, attendees will see more uses of Interactive digital signage on the show floor than ever before.
Keene: 4K entered the market with a splash, in 2013. Have you seen more 4K, in terms of exhibitor activity, educational sessions, etc, at DSE?
Gibbs: Yes, 4K is here to stay and grow. As content development catches up with Ultra HD technology, more rollouts will be seen in the market. Expect to see these installations in high end retail and other showcase type environments initially with other markets following once the technology becomes more mainstream.
Keene: Las Vegas shows typically get more international attendees (than in NYC, Orlando, Chicago, etc). Will there be significant international activity at DSE?
Gibbs: Yes, last year we had record breaking attendance from international visitors and we expect this trend to continue. For the first time DSE is offering the Digital Signage Certified Expert program in Spanish. DSE also will host a delegation from Brazil on the show floor complete with their own private meeting area.
Keene: What about education at the show? Any interesting developments, in terms of the educational tracks?
Gibbs: Once again our Editorial Director Richard Lebovitz has pulled together an amazing program. In addition to the DSCEG certification classes, the pre-show program taking place on Tuesday (before the exhibit hall opens) has several new additions this year. A new half-day session “Is Digital Signage Profitable? The Go or No-Go Decision” examines why AV integrators should consider adding digital signage to their business offering. Architects, designers, and fabricators will find attending “Dynamic Digital Environments Master Class” a great full day program exploring how digital technology can be used to create dazzling, innovative and informative environments. The Platt Retail Institute’s Retail Forum will focus on “Omni-Channel and the Future of Retail” and Adrian Cotterill is bringing his “Video Walls Unplugged” to the states for the first time. The Wednesday and Thursday program will feature 28 seminars and two can’t miss keynote breakfasts. On Wednesday morning Intel’s Jose Avalos will deliver “Digital Signage Futurecasting: Insights & Predictions" and on Thursday David Kepron will open the day with “Creating Engaging Experiences in a Digitally Distracted World”. DSE will also offer free education on the show floor during the event.
Keene: DSE typically has a good showing of end users. Anything new at the show regarding end users?
Gibbs: End Users are a very important part of DSE and each year we see new companies entering the market. To facilitate peer learning within vertical markets, we created 60 industry round table topics for more intimate/focused discussions in many of the industry’s vertical markets (retail, restaurants, education, healthcare, transportation). These will take place on Wednesday and Thursday on the show floor.
Readers can see the educational programming available at DSE by going to the following link: