KioskCom Las Vegas 2009 Review

The Kioskcom.com show last week was really good.  We were nervous going into it because of the economy.  We wondered if customers would come out to the show.  We were happy to see a great turn out by VP’s and decision makers with real projects in hand.  In years past you would see multiple team members from a brand attend, perhaps marketing folks, IT staff and VP’s.  Kind of a “design by committee” mentality. But this year, they seemed to not need to bring the whole committee out, just the decision makers, which all of the vendors appreciated.  We met with folks from Motorolla, Ikea, Target, Ceasars Palace, Delta, American Airlines and many more.

Our booth showcased the new Lobstr application on a 37″ touch screen, the new Zebra Kiosk Print Station with our “Hike & Bike” kiosk concept,  as well as our demo kiosk of various past customer implementations.  Our partners at 5Point also showcased Lobstr on their newest enclosure for Interactive Digital Signage (IDS) Platform, the Concierge.  Our app looked so cool on their 40″ screens that we are partnering with them to have this as our default hardware option for Lobstr. More to come on that soon.

Our booth chotsky was a full pack of Orbitz gum.  I figured it was better than most of the squeeze balls and pens given out by many vendors.  And also the obvious reason which is that I was tired of talking to people with bad breath.   Hmmm, I think Orbitz just found their next commercial idea!  Now if only I could brand the packaging with my company information it would have been perfect.

The educational break out sessions and tech talks were a big hit with attendees.  DT Research gave a session on “Interactive Digital Merchandising: Expanding brand and product impact and creating customer engagement.” which is a topic we can get behind.  Andrew Fischer did a great job in this session.   Another session was titled “Return on Message – Optimizing your digital signage network for success. ” which was giving by Keith Kelson who is the Chairman of the Content Best Practices committee of the Digital Signage Association along with Roger Sanford of the MediaTile company.  Return on Message (ROM) is the new buzzword in our industry and a methodology that  provides standards based processes to guide companies through complex variables that must be considered for a successful digital signage deployment.   This also showcased many of the best practices laid out by the association in the past years.

Speaking of the DSA (Digital Signage Association) of which I sit on the advisory board: we had our board meeting the night before the show at the M resort just south of the strip.  This new Casino / Hotel was only 62 days old and our board members were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the facility and the technology used by their VP of IT services.  I doubt I will ever get to see the NOC and security areas of another Casino in my lifetime, it was very interesting to see and learn about how they operate and how they use Digital Signage for both customer facing areas of the facility and also employee facing messages.  I appreciate the hospitality of the M Resort in Las Vegas.   During this meeting we did a review of several committees, discussed goals, events and recapped the past year’s success.  I am now the chairman of the PR & Marketing committee for the Digital Signage Association.   We have some good people on the committee already, so I’m excited about working with them to help promote the association, drive awareness and education, and help increase membership of the DSA.

As for new technology, there was a lot of the same hardware at the show that has been seen before.  I got a sneak peak at a new product from MicroVision which is a Pico Projector (ultra small projector) about the size of an Iphone.  Useful in our industry for some small digital signage applications for rear projection, etc.  However the brightness and resolution are the only current drawbacks I could see.  This may be addressed in the second and third generations of this unique laser projector called ShowWX.  See their site for a preview and watch for it to be launched later this year.  The projector is unique becuase of an ultra tiny red, blue & green laser that allows the image to be in focus at any distance.  It was really nice, but the first generation will likely be a consumer model.  They are interested in finding new products they could embed the engine into, such as a cell phone, or other device.

We enjoyed the opportunities to talk with many customers about their projects, hardware or software needs and to explain to them once again, that no… we are not THAT Electronic Arts company in California.   The “S” at the end of their name is short for dollar signs and no, our firm does not make games for the Playstation or Nintendo.   You have to love our name, but the similarities do make it confusing.  I’m pretty sure the lady at the Paris Casino was treating me really good because she thought that was our company when she saw my shirt.  For a free drink… I didn’t correct her.

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