Digital Signage Expo 2008 Review

Digital Signage Expo
Las Vegas, Nevada
February 26-28, 200

by Jack Cary, Manager of Digital Signage, IMS Audio Visual, Philadelphia, PA

Having been to Vegas for industry trade shows almost every year for the past 20 years I was ready to draw comparisons between those events and this, my first experience at DSE. The show was no disappointment. The reviews and conversations all qualified this year’s event as the biggest and the best in the shows history.

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It reminded me of attending NAB over the past four or five years when HD had started as “hype” but finally, in 2006 it became evident that HD was here and mainstream. The story is true now of Digital Signage, as it is here and looks like a very strong market for at least the next 7-10 years.

As I walked the show the following were some of the highlights.

Scala +/-
Had one of the largest booths.
As interactivity and customer engagement were being discussed in all of the conference sessions, one of Scala’s partner companies, Diva was in their booth with an interactive display. The presentation addressed all senses taking the visitor on a beach experience with light, heat, smell and visual effects. Scala showed its market leadership with the InfoChannel 5 offerings and developments in all vertical markets.

Digital Display Group(CastNET) +/-

DDG had a small presence at the expo but they offer a unique upgrade to a Scala system. Their company is the largest Scala VAR in the country and they have developed a “template-based”, web-browser and easy to use interface for Scala. The core of the system depends on the Scala engine but with CastNET organizations can leverage many resources within that organization to provide, improve and update content, easily and from the convenience of the internet browser. The systems are enterprise wide but DDG recently introduced a new “Solo” turnkey solution for smaller applications. CastNET also offers unique modules specific to the casino and hospitality markets that interface with slot controllers to provide casino-wide “celebrations when someone hits a big jackpot.

Nexus +/-

For passive or interactive signage system Nexus partnered with LG in their booth at DES and highlighted a recent interactive display they did for the PGA tour. Their systems are built mostly in a “Software as a Service”, hosted model and they have had great success with universities who are looking to create way finding and security tie-ins for campus signage system. They have also done projects with CBRE and for other, live sporting events.


By far the busiest booth on Wednesday as AGNPro showcased their Media Player and Network products. Of special interest was their new MiniBox HD which includes a compact flash card slot and touts 1080p resolution all for a MSRP of $995.00. This digital signage media player is by far one of the hottest products at the event. They also were showing the networked 720p version of this media player.

AMX +/-

Unique applications integrating control and AMX’s Inspired Signage offering. They were showcasing a vertical video wall made up of 5, 42” LCDs driven by the Inspired Signage players and displaying high resolution, processed images across all five displays. The 1920 x 1080 resolution and almost unlimited expandability was impressive.

Another highlight was the development of integrating the features of AMX’s RMS (Room Management System) with their signage product allowing for a completely integrated solution with touch screen or passive applications.

Sharp +/-

Their 108” LCD is due for release this summer. They have the best looking screens in 46”, 52” and 65”. They also have low end ($600.00) digital signage software they hooked into with a third party. Their black matrix technology delivers very high contrast and these screens, although higher priced than some of the other top contenders are by far producing the best looking HD images.

i-Tech +/-

A company with outdoor LCD technology – had a display that was being completely drenched with water illustrating their outdoor, weatherproof designs.

DataCall +/-

RSS feed subscriptions for insertion into digital signage system. Offerings include news, weather, sports, stocks and other national and localized packages.

Other Observations +/-

Most of the breakout sessions were conducted by vendors who were sharing their most recent wins, especially the larger, retail projects. Content and its development, how it’s billed, who will be creating it and how it is deployed still reigned as king. HD content was debated but it is what most everyone now wants to see. There seems to be a debate in the higher end advertising model for retail about charging for content vs free content but most of all the content itself is very critical. Content is getting more sophisticated.Businesses need to engage their customers.

Digi Award Ceremony

By far the highlight of the show. About 200 people attended the DigiAwards Ceremony on Thursday evening at the close of the event. We received our award in the category of Healthcare/Creativity for the Health Advocate project. Recognition was bestowed on all winners with visual slides shows of the projects, descriptions and comments by the Master of Ceremonies and the actual acceptance of the award itself. IMS is very proud of this award, as we found ourselves in the company of the major players in the Digital Signage market; a sign that we are serious about our commitment to this technology and in finding the best solutions for our customers.

-Jack Cary, Manager of Digital Signage, IMS Audio Visual
Contact us at (610) 361-1870