One iQer's Take on DSE 2013 (With Photos)

Mar 06, 2013 — Ryan Benoit

This was my first time leaving the office for business and experiencing the business world as an iQer. Most of my time is spent behind a desk curating content for XQ. So needless to say, it was quite the experience when I first stepped into the 2013 Digital Signage Expo (DSE) last week.

As cliché as it may sound, I had no idea what to expect. The words ‘digital signage’ doesn’t usually titillate the senses of a non-techie, and to be honest I’m only a half-techie. However, once I stepped through those convention center doors, I realized I wasn’t just looking at digital signage; I was seeing fragments of what our not-so-distant future could look like.


LG had prime real estate and used that space to show off their new Ultra-HD screens. These 4K video screens seemed to be the next big thing in monitors. It’s been said the 3840x2160 makes 1920x1080 look like standard definition in comparison.

One of my favorite booths was Planar.

Their 4K Ultra HD screen (above) –- which was built to look amazing even in direct sunlight –- was not only innovative but practical.

I was captivated by this Nike display because it tied digital to tangible. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this translucent box also serves as a screen. So the item inside the box is real; it's our perception of the item that's altered. It might seem silly, but every time I walked by, someone was gawking at that Nike box.

It was also nice to see a little bit of my bread and butter hanging up on the wall at the Planar booth. For all the screens and solutions shown at the show, I didn’t come across any that took on the daunting task of tackling the mobile retail world quite like XQ does.

Intel came across as one of DSE’s heavy hitters. They demonstrated plenty of solutions for the hardware they build.

Easily one of my favorites were these tiny Intel screens that served as price tags. It seems like a simple enough idea, but technology like this lets the vendor tell a story about the product. For example, imagine you’re interested in buying free-run eggs and that tiny screen provides you a live feed into those free-run chickens’ happy home. You can rest easy knowing your food came from a good place.

An important thing to realize about the Intel booth was they weren’t just displaying pipe dreams. They were showing things that have already been deployed. This vending machine was, in fact, selling computer parts.

Arsenal Media probably had the most fun when it came time to design their exhibit, drawing some inspiration from Pez candy.

One thing that seemed to dominate was gesture-based interfaces, and it would seem like we’re getting it -– whether we’re ready for it or not. A few vendors tried their hand at virtual clothes fittings and I would say my favorite take on this was at the Sharp booth. Most vendors just superimpose an image of clothing over a live video. At Sharp, you could put on an item and see how it looked in any color.

So much emphasis was placed on honing into your market and understanding your customer. Hypotheticals will soon be non-existent, and developments in analytics and customer tracking will soon market to individuals, as opposed to a group. It all seems to be very Orwellian (or exciting)… I can’t decide.

Topics: Retail Operations, Mobile Industry, Nike, Customer Experience, Retail Marketing

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