Digital Signage Expo– A View From the Top

Digital Signage Expo– A View From the Top

Digital Signage Expo (DSE) 2016 is in high gear for its run March 15–18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. As we approach the expo, Andrea Varrone shared some background and on-the-ground updates on what’s new and hot for this year’s DSE. Varrone is the Show Director for Digital Signage Expo (DSE). She joined Exponation in 2008 as a sales associate, and was promoted to Sales Manager in 2011. She was named DSE Show Director in 2015. She completed her Digital Signage Experts Group Certification in July 2012, and is a graduate of the University of Georgia. She recently spoke with NewBay executive editor and Digital Signage magazine executive editor David Keene about developments for the expo.

Andrea Varrone

Digital Signage magazine: Are there any changes/updates to the show layout, etc., that are interesting for 2016?

Andrea Varrone:New this year is the Self Service Pavilion. With the rising adoption of self-service kiosks, tablets, and other interactive devises, it was a natural move for DSE to establish a place for this type of technology to be on display for attendees.

We have also expanded on our Mexico Pavilion. The delegation will be offering Spanish-Speaking courses on both days of the show. The Brazil pavilion is now sponsored by ABMOOH, and will be a great networking area on the show floor to discuss the digital signage market in South America.

DSM: How do you see registration for DSE shaping up, as of now?

Andrea Varrone: DSE Registration is tracking ahead of 2015 numbers. End users from some very big and well-known companies are registering, many who have never been to DSE. Registration will continue through the show, so as is our policy, we won’t publish full numbers until after DSE.

DSM: How do you see exhibitor registration shaping up?

Andrea Varrone: We will have many first-time exhibitors showcasing innovative new products at DSE. We are close to 200 exhibitors and are still actively selling and confirming additional exhibitors today.

DSM: 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.?

Andrea Varrone: We now attract 20 industry vertical markets to DSE. The newest growing sectors appear to be Corporate Communications and Manufacturing. Whereas some of our exhibitors cater to specific industries, many are providing solutions applicable across many different vertical markets. However, digital network owners and operators of ad-based, ad-supported and those which do not sell advertising have very similar technology needs. The difference between these types is more to be found in the education program. The Digital Out-of-Home Strategy Summit, a full pre-show day on Tuesday, 3/15 covers that divide very well, providing up-to-date information that all operators can use. This is in addition to the entire general conference educational track designed specifically for these audiences.

DSM: It seems like every year “digital signage” is more and more common in the larger AV world (the bigger “InfoComm” world). In other words digital signage is not really a smaller niche market anymore but is a part of other bigger markets like AV, and Advertising, etc. So the question is, what does the DSE offer that other AV and related trade shows do not?

Andrea Varrone: DSE by far has the largest, most robust education program for Digital Signage in the world. We have over 125 speakers, 40 Sessions, 28 On-Floor Workshops, and 42 Round Tables. Additionally we offer Pre-Show programs that include: the SCN Connected Screen Conference for Integrators, Ragan Communications- Best Practices for Employee Communications in a Digital Workplace, PRI’s Digital Retailing Forum, SEGD’s DesignX Workshop for Architects, the DOOH Strategy Summit, and two Digital Signage Expert Programs for Certification. Not to mention 200 exhibits with a dedicated focus on Digital Displays and Interactive Technology. Digital Signage gets buried at other trade shows, but is the main focal point at DSE.

In short, there is no where else that someone interested in learning about Digital Signage has as much opportunity to learn about the latest trends, network with peers and industry professionals and see the latest technology demonstrations first-hand than at DSE.

DSM: Las Vegas shows typically get more international attendees (than in NYC, Orlando, Chicago, etc). Will there be significant international activity at DSE?

Andrea Varrone: DSE hosts attendees from around the world. The 2015 show welcomed 1,067 attendees and exhibitors from 60 Countries outside the US representing almost 20% of the shows’ total attendance. We expect similar if not higher numbers for 2016. There is simply no other trade show of this kind worldwide.

DSM: The DSE web site shows added emphasis on "verticals"... retail, transportation, education, etc. Will the show itself reflect this? (Special "pavilions" on show floor, etc.)

Andrea Varrone: DSE attracts up to 20 different industry vertical market attendees. We have created the End User Networking Lounge as well as The Integrator Club-Sponsored by rAVe in order to give attendees a vendor-free place to network, and gain assistance with navigating the trade show floor. The End User Networking lounge is hosting free, industry specific workshops led by peers in Corporate Communications, Higher Ed, Retail, and Restaurants. These will be by invitation-only and DSE will be reaching out to registered attendees in all of these categories for this purpose.

DSM: What about education at the show? Any interesting developments, in terms of the educational tracks? i.e. new this year...

Andrea Varrone: DSE by far has the largest, most robust education program for Digital Signage in the world. We have over 125 speakers, 40 Sessions, 28 On-Floor Workshops, and 42 Round Tables. Additionally we offer Pre-Show programs that include: the SCN Connected Screen Conference for Integrators, Ragan Communications- Best Practices for Employee Communications in a Digital Workplace, PRI’s Digital Retailing Forum, SEGD’s DesignX Workshop for Architects, the DOOH Strategy Summit, and two Digital Signage Expert Programs for Certification. For 2016 we’ve added a general conference track for System Integrators and greatly expanded the End User Track to offer specifically targeted education for attendees in Corporate, Higher Ed, Retail and Restaurant sectors in addition to the regular more general education for all end users.

DSE 2015 Show Floor

DSM: What pre-show activity is new or different this year?

Andrea Varrone: New this year is SCN’s Connected Screen Conference for Integrators.

DSM: Special sessions/activities at the DSE? Have you added, or significantly upgraded existing, sessions?Andrea Varrone: Our Education Committee made up of Industry Executives alongside our Conference Manager have worked tirelessly to provide a comprehensive program that speaks to the needs of all DSE attendees. All educational programs are planned as zero-based every year to ensure that topics are current, relevant and immediately useful for attendees. There is something for everyone.DSM: DSE typically has a good showing of end users. Anything to comment on regarding end users?Andrea Varrone: We are seeing some really big names who are brand new to DSE, which is very exciting. DSE invests HEAVILY in recruiting End User attendance, and unlike some other shows, end users come to DSE to do business.DSM: What about the upcoming DSE, are you excited about, that the average attendee may not know about?Andrea Varrone: This year we have combined our very well-attended Networking Reception with our APEX Awards program. Everyone is welcome to attend this event which starts immediately following the close of day one at the show. This will take place from 5-7pm in the N3 Hall. Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres will be served, and the program is sure to be a lot of fun! Most importantly, we look forward to brining everyone involved in the Digital Signage market together in one place for 3-4 days.