Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another week, another set of digital signage news links

Infocomm 2009 claims to have had its biggest East Coast show ever, with 29,000 attendees. I spent three days on the floor there, and while there were some very, very busy periods in our digital signage area, there were also some points where our entire hall seemed empty.  Perhaps 29,000 isn't enough to fill the Orange County Convention Center. Or perhaps not all of the audience was into digital signage. Either way, I'm glad we attended, and wouldn't be surprised if we did it again next year, with a few changes.

Consumer-grade wireless video gear in the digital signage market.  We've had a few requests for replacing the "last meters" of a typical wired digital signage installation with wireless in order to save on the cost and complexity of hauling out Ethernet cables, but up until recently the only options were impressive but wildly expensive offerings from ProAV and digital signage-specific vendors.  New equipment from consumer companies like Iogear might start changing that real soon. While their devices require a line of sight from transmitter to receiver, and have limited range, neither of these may be a problem for lots of venues. And the devices only cost $350 a pair -- about 80% less than some of the full-HD alternatives out there.

Microsoft's recent withdrawl of a system that would allow very specific targeting of TV commercials spotlights a problem that the TV ad world shares with its digital signage brethren: the need to book spots ahead-of-time. There were some technical hurdles, but apparently the need to book slots a whole 11 days prior to air proved too much for advertisers.  Last-minute buys and spot provisioning continues to be the most well-worn path in the ad world, regardless of medium, it seems.

Did you guys know that PRN's Michael Quinn has a blog? I didn't until recently. So far he has a few interesting posts and head-scratchers up, and I'm sure there will be more to come.  Well worth checking out and bookmarking.

Ad network aggregator SeeSaw Networks seems to be getting more into the role of arbiter between the traditional agency and signage networks, this time by setting up seasonal buys for the very important back-to-school season. Their new media plans apparently allow marketers to reach 75 million students nation-wide, across 200 media markets. This is a great example of using a traditional strength of digital out-of-home (namely time and place-specificity) to intensify campaigns that traditional marketers already know to be of critical importance.

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