Digital Non-Conference recap

2010 Digital Non-Conference session

Unique Pub Locations

The 2010 digital Non-Conference is now behind us.  And everyone I spoke to seemed to really enjoy the conference and the quality speakers at the event.  The “Non-Conference” is so named because of it’s non traditional format tailored after a similar non-conference in Ireland in the early 2000’s where each session was held in various pubs.  The Cincinnati event held it’s main sessions and keynotes at the Millennium hotel and then each topical session was in a nearby bar, art gallery or lounge which kept it fun and interesting. As a sponsor of the event we were very pleased with the overall conference.

2010 Digital Non-Conference Keynote Panel

Ugly Betty's America Ferrera

The keynote speakers included a panel with Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera who is producing the first bi-lingual telenovela with MTV that will allow viewers to interact with the outcome of the show called “Pedro and Maria. Another compelling keynote was Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora online radio. While building the music website, Westergren said he maxed out three credit cards and accumulated a quarter million dollars in debt in 2003. But by listening to its consumers and being persistent, the company now represents 60 percent of online music, showing that the proper mix of passion, persistence and  technology can make all of the difference in the digital world.

As a presenter I enjoyed talking about digital signage to this audience of mostly ad agency staff, designers, media, bloggers, marketers and brand managers who are likely to know little about digital signage.  I hosted a panel on the topic of “Trends and Insights: Digital Signage Opportunities for Marketers” which tried to convey the benefits to this audience as well as some basics of our industry. On the panel was Christopher Hall of DigitalSignageToday.com, Chuck Gose of The MediaTile Company, Bill Collins of DecisionPoint Media and myself.  We were hosting our discussion in a place called “Passage Lounge” which is an upscale lounge bar with a secret passage to the VIP lounge which provided a relaxed environment.  We kicked off the discussion with some basics on digital signage along with photos to ensure the audience was up to speed on what we were discussing. Then our panel fielded very relevant  questions from the audience on important topics such as:

  • “Why should marketers invest in digital signage, when social media and smart mobile phones are so hot?”
  • “Many brands see the value of Digital Signage at retail, but they have been frustrated by the lack of good opportunities that they have to tell their story at retail.   What do you expect the brands to do in order to break through at retail?”
  • “Why should marketers invest in digital signage at all?”

The discussion was lively and the panel did a professional job with no “selling” to the audience. Although I saw several audience members get business cards afterward to be able to continue the discussion. One audience member drove all of the way from Toronto Canada after reading about the conference and our panel online.  He was wanting to start a new digital signage network in Toronto and had many questions for the panelists after our event.

Tim Westergren - Pandora

Tim Westergren - Pandora

It was good to see traditional agencies and marketers taking an interest in digital signage. Several people asked me how they could learn more and I directed them to the digital screenmedia association web site and handed them a brochure.  They expressed interest in using digital out of home media to target their audiences but felt that the biggest problem they have is the lack of network ubiquity (just as Tim Westergren had noted was a key to Pandora’s success). Until there are large ubiquitous networks available for them to spend their ad money, digital signage will not be perceived as a primary vehicle for out of home advertising.   We discussed the integration of social media and used the Foursquare / Local Moda example to show how brands are leveraging social media with digital signage in their bricks and mortar locations, which was of particular interest to many in the audience.  This lead to some interesting tweets from the audience which can be seen here: http://digitalcincinnati.org/2010/top-tweets-from-145pm-breakouts/

So, did they get it?  Yes.  The audience got it and they seemed jazzed about many of the technologies that can help them measure digital signage.  This is something most marketers don’t realize is available to them.  I wouldn’t doubt that our discussion helps to grow the digital signage industry in our region as well as perhaps getting some of the global brand managers to become more open to the use of digital signage spend in the upcoming years.  We have already begun working with a lead that we met at the conference, so our firm is happy with the exposure it has given us.

2010 Digital Non-Conference session

Hands-On Session on Innovation

The digital non-conference was put off by the Cincinnati Ad-Club and the American Marketing Association. This is the third year for the event and has grown quite a bit.  This year there was a real emphasis on growing the reach to other cities in the midwest including Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington and Dayton making this a Midwest digital conference not just a greater Cincinnati event.  Our panel had someone from Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati so it was a diverse group.  I believe that the next couple of years will see dramatic growth of the conference.  And the event is always timed to coincide with the Midpoint Music Festival which adds a bit of cool factor to the experience.

I hope you can plan to attend next year’s event.  If not, consider how you or your company can help to expand the knowledge and education around digital signage in your part of the world.  Get involved, sponsor, speak and provide a consultative approach to helping others realize the potential of digital out of home marketing.  When you give unselfishly, you will always get back more than you anticipated.  It may be as simple as volunteering to staff the DSA booth at an upcoming event or giving a show and tell event for your local chamber of commerce.  Lean on the DSA to provide you with content, networking with other industry professionals and membership materials. Its your association, use it!

CEO Renamed as Chairperson for DSA Committee

I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with the Digital Signage Association since it’s inception a few years ago, as well as membership in the SSKA (Self Service & Kiosk Association).  In the past few months both of those organizations combined into one non profit association which makes my life a lot easier.  The new association is the Digital ScreenMedia Association ( notice how the kept the DSA moniker). And with a membership of over 650 end users, deployers, manufacturers and agencies it is a pretty powerful organization.

I’ve been the chairperson for the DSA Marketing & PR committee for about 1.5 years now and with the merger of the two associations and two committees it was a bit up in the air if I would be the new combined committee chairperson or if the esteemed Bill Lynch of the SSKA committee would lead going forwards.   Well it’s official that I am indeed the new chairperson of the combined committee and we had our first conference call a few weeks ago to engage the now larger committee.  It was a great call as we reviewed old news and new items including some very exciting programs we will be recommending to the board.   I can’t speak of them yet but I’m hopeful they will make an impact in the marketing of the DSA, giving us several PR opportunities and help fulfill the mission of the DSA.   More word on this when it’s public knowledge.

To learn more about the DSA and get involved as a user/integrator/agency of digital signage, mobile or kiosk technologies visit their web site at: http://www.digitalscreenmedia.org/

Digital Signage Expo 2010

I will be attending the DSE  (Digital Signage Expo) again this week in Las Vegas.  Partly because it’s warm and sunny but mostly because I need to keep up on the latest and greatest in hardware, software and unique offerings in our industry.  This show is very large and was very good last year (See my review here).   We came away from that show last year with some new partners, vendors and customers.  We hope for the same this time around.  I will be attending networking events each evening and rubbing elbows with many of my partners as well as prospects.  Always a good time.

This year we are sure to see tons of Atom based digital sign players devices, new screen models from the big players like Samsung, LG & NEC.  Last year they were really highlighting 3-D screens but it has only been the past few months that 3-D LCD screens have been getting a lot of media attention as these same manufacturers are all bringing 3-D to the consumer market as well.  So I expect 3-D to have a large part in the show again this year, even though my own personal opinion is that it is a small niche in the digital out of home (DOOH) experience.

There has also been a lot of talk about the DSA & DSE competing with each other.  This should make for some interesting Digital Signage Association (DSA)  board meetings the day before the show.  I sit on the advisory board for the DSA and am currently the chair of the Marketing and PR committee.  Our ranks have really grown tremendously over the past year and we have several new members such as Intel and HP joining and taking an active role.  I hope to have more to report after the show.

2.4 inch LCD

2.4 inch LCD

Will I see you there?  If so, say hello.  You won’t be able to miss me with my Twitter Tshirt pointing you to my Twitter page @KioskGuy.  And I’ll be wearing a 2.4 inch LCD screen on the lapel of my sport coat showcasing some of our recent projects.  I like the idea of using these Personal Media Players (PMP) as a way to communicate and get noticed at these huge tradeshows.  If you have anything that you’d like me to research for you while I’m at the show, please send me a note by commenting here or using our Contact Us page on our web site.  I have several meetings set with our partners at Samsung, AOpen and more.

Electronic Art President Named Chair of PR & Marketing for Digital Signage Association

Tim Burke, Founder and President of Electronic Art, was named chair of the PR & Marketing Committee for the Digital Signage Association on May 5, in Las Vegas, during a board meeting prior to the 2009 KioskCom Self Service Expo.

In this role, Burke plans to provide marketing and PR guidance to promote the awareness of the industry association and increase membership. He expects to work with other association committees to help them achieve their missions as well.

“Marketing is one of my key strengths. I’ll help drive awareness through social media, trade shows and other events with attendees that consume digital signage,” Burke said.

Burke’s first goal is to get the DSA involved with the Cincinnati Digital Non-Conference to be held on Sept. 24 – 25, which provides a targeted audience for the DSA to provide education and drive awareness of the association. He will also encourage involvement in the Digital Signage Expo and other events that serve to educate agencies, media and IT professionals, architects, and property management firms about digital signage.

DSA members are some of the most prominent and respected suppliers in the digital signage industry. Other committee chairpersons were named at the board meeting, including Margot Myers of the Platt Retail Institute, the chair of the Education & Certification committee, and Greg Masingill of Seneca Data, the chair of the Membership committee.

“Our industry has grown tremendously in the past three years and is expected to double in size by 2012. I want to help lead the organization meet its mission and play a role in that industry growth,” Burke said.

For more information about Electronic Art, contact Tim Burke at (513) 321-1771 or tburke@electronicart.com, or visit www.ElectronicArt.com.

About the Digital Signage Association

The purpose of the Digital Signage Association (DSA) is to accelerate the growth and advance the excellence of digital signage deployments worldwide. The DSA strives to help those deploying digital signage solutions be as successful as possible. The Association is built on three pillars: advocacy, education and networking. For more information, visit http://www.digitalsignageassociation.com.

About Electronic Art

Electronic Art (www.ElectronicArt.com) is a Cincinnati-based interactive agency specializing in kiosks and digital signage as well as many related online services. Originally founded in 1998 and incorporated in 2002, Electronic Art began primarily as a Web studio offering high end custom programming, ecommerce, and design. Electronic Art provides custom solutions for many industries in kiosks, digital signage and website development. Sales of kiosk and digital signage hardware allow for a complete solution from one vendor, and an onsite IT staff handles build, integration and support needs.