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Digital Signage Expo Tech Track

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Sponsored and produced by Digital Signage magazine, the Tech Track at the Digital Signage Expo, to be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, February 27-28, will feature seminars geared specifically to the commercial AV integrators who seek more in-depth insight into the nuances of the digital signage market.

The Tech Track is a new addition to the show this year, and will complement the educational sessions that are more geared to the end-user community and to digital signage content and management professionals. The Tech Track sessions will be:

• Enterprise-Wide Digital Signage Systems, 9-10am, Wednesday Feb. 27. Increasingly, we are seeing not just stand-alone digital signage systems that feature, say, screens for branding or ad content in-store, or messaging in the lobby of a bank– but rather comprehensive enterprise-wide systems that may link some combination of corporate broadcasts from C-level to employees, business television, interactive distance learning and training programs, ad-based systems in retail, and more. This session will explore what software/hardware infrastructure is needed to support not just an isolated digital signage system but a variety of applications– and offer robust control of content distribution, centralized management, security monitoring, video multicasting, and video conferencing.

• Flat Panel Display Technology, Noon-1pm, Wednesday Feb. 27. LCD, Plasma, and LED flat panels. What to use, why, where, and how. The incorporation of a flat panel display in a digital signage environment is not just a plug-and-play scenario. There are numerous design aspects to take into consideration, for example, internal scalers/algorithms. Commercial displays recognize all PC resolutions including wide formats and different refresh rates (1024x768 @60, 72, 75, 85Hz) in addition to TV/video resolutions. Consumer displays are designed specifically for TV/video formats with very limited PC resolutions. One important differentiator is the connector interface. Commercial displays incorporate the standard RS-232 external control/connector with PC and video loop-through connector capability facilitating multiple display configurations from a single PC or video source. In addition they include industrial BNC locking connectors. Consumer displays typically do not offer RS-232 external display control/connector, video loop through capability or multiple display configuration capability and the do not offer BNC connectors. This seminar will explore the specs you must know to make the best choice for a particular digital signage system.

• Content Software–Comparing Apples to Apples, 3-4pm, Wednesday Feb. 27. Software from a wide variety of suppliers is used to create content that runs on digital signage systems, for formatting video, for playlist control, and for compliance (reporting what ran when on the DS system). There are many competing software products available. And software being software, challenges face the systems integrator and the end-user: Software doesn’t really have the kind of “specs” that allow A/B comparison when deciding which product to go with. This session will attempt to demystify the competitive features of the main software packages available for digital signage. It will also address what training the various software package providers make available to AV integrators.

• Video Signal Routing, Processing, and Storage in the Digital Signage Arena, Thursday, February 28. Video signal routing in the digital signage arena shares some similarities with routing in the corporate AV environment, but there are differences. The distances involved are typically much greater. And storage in particular is a different animal, involving store/forward platforms, or remote storage of content. This seminar will address ways to adapt knowledge and experience from the Corporate AV world to the digital signage arena involving retail, transportation, or other venues that feature “Narrowcasting” to many remote locations.

• Measurement and Compliance issues for the Systems Integrator, Thursday, February 28
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM. As retailers adopt digital signage systems for their in-store promotions, branding, and ads, there is heated debate going on in the advertising and retailer communities about whether in-store “media” (digital signage) can be packaged, sold, and measured the way that other media can (TV, print, etc). This session will focus on the “metrics” issues for integrators in particular, or more specifically, measuring the effectiveness of a particular digital signage system, and what to promise (and not promise) in terms of ROI to a potential customer. It will not focus on the larger issue of “the store as media”, but rather it will focus on practical software tools available today that the integrator/end-user can employ to gauge, primarily, Compliance (documentation of what content ran on the digital signage system, when), and the overall effectiveness of the system–“Is it working as planned?” as opposed to “What is the exact Sales Lift resulting from deployment?”

For more information on the Tech Track at the Digital Signage Expo, log onto www.digitalretailingexpo.com

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