I was excited to attend and shoot videos at DSE in Las Vegas again this year. DSE is one of my favorite shows, It’s a great size to get the chance to feel like you really got to see all the products and talk to all the companies you want.
Altinex caught my attention first with their bold colors and minimalist setup. Although Altinex sells a wide variety of signal and power products, they focused on one product that’s really a on-site problem solver. The Muse line is an extremely powerful variant on the HDBaseT standard. Most HDBaseT products – even those claiming 5-Play — don’t offer much in the way of power. The Muse line can send a whopping 150 Watts of power up to 300 feet over one cat6 cable. That’s enough to power your average 55″ display, or even a couple smaller ones. Internal sensors auto measure the length of your run and compensate power delivery to ensure that the correct amount is being received on the display end. The way the Altinex rep explained it, keeping this box can save you and your clients money the next time your installer is wrongly told that there is power dropped in the right spot to hang your display. Instead of having to reschedule and possibly call out an electrician to come back for an expensive waste of time, you can grab these units from a truck and deliver power with your signal and control.
Ayuda – I guess I’m going to to alphabetical on this blog now — continues to offer one of the most comprehensive suite of DS network management tools. They offer a crazy list of just about every service you might use to run and sell a complex signage network with a ton of endpoints and clients. Some of the features offered in the suite are: CRM for OOH, sales proposals and contracts, CMS, software player, invoicing, proof of performance / analytics and more. The team is also exceptionally friendly and helpful. And – they had the best booth giveaway with a popcorn machine that delivered hot buttery popcorn — much to the delight of the booth visitors and indoor pigeons and I’m sure the consternation of the hall cleaning staff. They love twitter, so hit them up at @Ayudasystems
There were a lot of projectors brought out to DSE – particularly from the bigger booths up front – but I have a soft-spot for Canon, which is probably borne out of Canon being my preferred brand of SLR cameras. They’re both optical products, so maybe it’s justified… What caught my eye in their booth in particular is the ReaLis WUX400ST‘s under-table mount, which looks actually super handy for cramped situations with limited mounting surfaces on the walls. The custom mount also highlights the projectors excellent lens shifting abilities.
I know we already gave the DnP Supernova a prize at ISE 2015 – but this was my first time seeing it in person. The simple in-booth demo is arresting in its simplicity. This crazy-hot, bright, lightbulb is positioned directly over the screen, and there SHOULD be a washed out bloom over the projected image. The projector itself was average business projector and not a crazy rental 30,000 lumen behemoth. Also, highly directional screens tend to have a narrow viewing angle, but this one is not too bad at all. Good screen, and it makes sense for a bright DS commercial environment.
We gave FlatFrog MultiTouch a 2015 DS Champs award, and for good reason. Their particular brand of touch technology uses Frustrated Total Internal Reflection (FTIR), which is extremely versatile compared to traditional projected capacitive touch. You can read more about the nitty-gritty here. What this means for mere mortals who just want to touch a pretty screen is that these panels are pressure sensitive and work through gloves.
Realfiction brought us the Dreamoc HD3, a three-sided HD a faux-holographic display with integrated player. Actually, lets stop here for a second and I guess admit it may be forever before there is a technology that everybody will agree is an actual hologram. I guess it would look like a laster that projects a 3D object on a normal table? For now, we have Pepper’s Ghost illusion and some awesome products that take advantage of the principle. For less than five thousand dollars, you can have a free-standing waist high column that will project content floating above a physical object you place on the table. The demos are amazing, and include things animated clouds with words being sprayed out of physical perfume bottles and roulette wheels spinning around beer bottles.
E Ink continues to show just how useful the ubiquitous e-reader screen technology could be in a dooh setting. These screens only get clearer when operating in full, blasting sunlight and they can operate on normal batteries that can last weeks. At this DSE show, they showed off color E Ink signs as well as front-lit technology, which you can find in the Kindle Paperwhite. The front light gives the text a whiter background in the day, and lets the sign be readable during the night.
Freshwater Digital Media Partners is a content company that fabricated an amazing free-standing bar game that blends a real-life interactive game with digital signage – The Extreme Ring Swing. I love it when companies and individuals are able to translate ideas into physical, fabricated ideas. This sort of manufacturing is becoming more and more within the reach of non-traditional manufacturers with the advent of shared and affordable machines like CNC cutters and 3D printers. This particular entertaining game can be customized with themes, like cattle, boats and beer to fit themed bars and restaurants. The signage keeps track of the game score, while showing content like ads and TV broadcasts.
Spacetouch is an innovative technology being floated out to manufacturers by Princeton University. While the booth setup left something to be desired – bottles of water propping a loose piece of plastic in front of a table – the technology itself shined through. By using a thin cooper loop around the display’s bezel – I’m guessing some kind of antenna – it enables you to have Microsoft Kinnect-like interactions with a touch display just by waving your hands and it uses no cameras or IR. You can scroll though menus, and even make selections by pushing an invisible button forward with your palm. The beauty of this is that it can be wrapped around any existing display, and it works through shop windows and outdoor kiosks. A manufacturer needs to snatch up and license that technology pronto – it’s a diamond in the rough.
Spencer Technologies – technically an DS integration company themselves – brought a fun demo of a new display format. It’s a bar with six tiny LCDs in a row. Run by an equally cute white controller box reminiscent of the Nintendo Wii, it is able to distribute a video source over all of some of the screens in the bar – or display separate videos on each screen. In today’s world of digital signage, it’s hard to come up with a new display that hasn’t been seen before, and this little guy should be flexible in retail settings and also catch some jaded eyes.
Unified Products and Services is looking to turn digital signage on its head. Although with a confusingly unspecific company name like that you’d hardly know if they make storage lockers for goats or accounting software. Using modified off-the-shelf Cisco access points, they allow companies and theme parks to offer targeted advertisements directly to individuals using free Wi-Fi. Instead of trying to wrestle attention away from smartphones and towards eye-catching displays, you can let them keep looking at the smartphones. It’s not as fancy as LE Bluetooth Beacons or NFC, but the advantage is compatibility with almost every device on the market and getting people to green-light access to the devices in return for free internet access. It’s attracting a lot of attention – and even from some pretty well known theme parks — rhymes with Shmisney — while I was just standing there waiting to talk to the staff.
Tightrope Media came up with a super clever in-booth game to draw in crowds that both tied in thematically to the booth and showed of their programming prowess. They took a portable stand-alone slackline stand and tied it into digital signage and hardware floor sensors. When a contestant stood on the slackline, the timer on the screens started and Mario 8-bit boss music started playing. When the player falls off, the timer stops and the system posts the score and overall standings. It was a great way to attract crowds to the booth and also show off their custom software skills.
VertiGo Outdoor Displays has once again shown their outdoor signs to be some of the best looking enclosures on the floor. Their Pronto line of menu signage is pretty clever too, but it’s the architectural details added to the Totem that make them stand out as something you’d really want to add to your commercial developments.