Ramping Up for NAB and The Digital Signage Show with Harris

by David Keene

This year, for the first time I can remember, the gargantuan NAB show in Las Vegas is leading into The Digital Signage Show. NAB (April 10–15; Exhibits April 12–15; at the Las Vegas Convention Center), and The Digital Signage Show (April 14–15 at Mandalay Bay), are worlds apart in terms of attendance and history, but the two events are in a way an indication of the state of the industry, where huge forces from the Broadcast TV and Advertising worlds (NAB) are moving the market from the top, while incremental evolution in display, kiosk, and routing technology from the kiosk and AV side allow smaller players to leverage their strengths against the big players.

Just a few years ago, NAB was all TV, all the time. Of course, the content genie has come out of the TV and even the computer and now content–not just advertising but entertainment as well– is trying to reach out into your smart phone, and onto screens in public places.

And just a few years ago, The Digital Signage Show, was just an area on the floor of a larger floor that was all about Kiosks–retail kiosks that were more about shopper checkout.

At this year’s NAB, I’m not sure digital signage is going to be the biggest buzz. While the content genie is indeed out of the bottle, this year, the NAB world is all abuzz about screens smaller than digital signage screens. What’s different this year is the explosion of smartphone technology. We’ve pondered the arrival of the cell phone/smartphone as the “remote control” for digital signage. The smartphone could steal thunder from digital signage, if advertisers bypass the bigger displays and try to go directly to the tiny screen literally in people’s hands. I don’t think this will happen. There are too many privacy issues involved there. If advertisers and other content providers try to go to fast in that smartphone world, it could backfire. Consumers are fickle. In digital signage systems controlled by network operators, content is not user-controlled.

Speaking of content, a big player from the NAB world, Harris Corporation, will of course be at NAB (with probably the largest booth on the show floor)… no surprise there, Harris is so big in the broadcast world I wouldn’t know where to start describing their footprint. But Harris is also making good inroads into the digital signage world. (Harris was big at the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas last month, and Denise MacDonnell of Harris sat on my Tech Track panel at DSE on Digital Signage Content Management Software, where she did a great job pointing out how Harris works with integrators to tailor solutions to the application, as opposed to touting the “one size fits all” approach to content management software we hear from so many software providers). And Harris’ newly appointed president of the company's Broadcast Communications business, Harris Morris, was also active at DSE, and he’ll be heading up Harris’ activities in Vegas, at both NAB and The Digital Signage Show. Equally fluent in the content workflow side as in the financial side of the industry, Morris will be a key innovator in the industry, as we now see the entry of large companies like Harris, Intel, Cisco, and others into an industry segment none of them can ignore any longer.

Harris’ activities at NAB– too many to list hear. They’re in every part of the NAB market, including some markets you probably did not know existed (Harris’ CEO Howard Lance will deliver the keynote at NAB, and talk about, among other things, consumer/military technology crossover).

Drilling down to a more immediate and practical look at content, Harris a Sponsor of the Cooking Up Content Demonstration at The Digital Signage Show, April 14-15, at The Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

With an estimated two million content spots presented on North America’s digital signage and DOOH networks during 2009, content best practices are unfolding, yet this process has not received the attention it deserves. The Cooking Up Content Demonstration, will, according to the producers, help “organizations, venues and advertisers need to clearly understand the content creation and development process from strategy to creative to execution.”

Cooking Up Content provides venues, brands, network operators and other interested attendees with an inside view of the content creation process – from strategy to creative to deployment of content for DOOH networks. The Cooking Up Content is presented by Harris Corp, and also is sponsored by Samsung.

Hosted by digital signage specialist Lyle Bunn, this two-day event will demonstrate to attendees the strategy, composition and presentation of content for Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) Media. The schedule is as follows:

Chapter 1: Strategic Briefing, April 14 @ 1:30 pm
This presentation will highlight the creative/strategy briefing for the project, including:
* The concept, focus and direction of the project, including the target audience/demographic
* The intention of the content: structure, timing. location and media assets
* Engagement strategies and ROI
* Measure of Success (ROI/ROE, Call to action – Sales lift, recall, traffic to website, downloads)

Chapter 2: Content Creation/Content Development, April 15 @10:15 am
This presentation will highlight the creative/development process for the project, including:
* Screen design & layout
* Use of media assets
* Storyboard preparation

Chapter 3: Final Play Loop/Final Content, April 15 @ 2:00 pm
The final play loop must be submitted to The Digital Signage Show. This presentation will highlight and demonstrate:
* How the communication objective was achieved (from the creative brief)
* Taking an idea from storyboard to final play loop
* The final play loop/content

For more information: www.thedigitalsignageshow.com/cookingupcontent.asp