The show floor at DSE is always a flurry of activity - attendees perusing the aisles, exhibitors proudly showing off their latest and greatest. In an industry defined by the competition for attention by way of pixels, there's certainly a fair amount of spectacle to be seen, so I thought I'd share a couple thoughts and takeaways from my own exploration of the Expo.
By Pete Erickson, VP of Creative, Screenfeed
It's All About People
Weeks before DSE even kicked off, our CEO, Jeremy Gavin had pointed out the somewhat counter-intuitive brand positioning Reflect Systems took as first advertised in their Sixteen:Nine booth preview, which essentially stated their value in taking a people-centric approach to digital signage solutions (as opposed to blindly throwing the latest shiny thing at a project). This, in addition to this year's DSE theme of "Transform the Customer Experience," really drives home a helpful reminder - wherever you find yourself in the industry ecosystem, the bottom line is driven by appealing to people. Whether it's increasing ROI, building brand loyalty and engagement, or decreasing perceived wait time, achieving network objectives find their beginning and end with people. As you can see in the video above, there are a lot of shiny things to be seen this year and every year at DSE. As tempting as it can often be to pad a proposal or content strategy with a new advancement in hardware, software, bell or whistle just because it sounds cool at the time, it won't deliver meaningful results unless it's based on people-oriented objectives.
Whether it's increasing ROI, building brand loyalty and engagement, or decreasing perceived wait time, achieving network objectives find their beginning and end with people.
Another important angle of this perspective as put forth by Reflect is the people-oriented nature of planning/concepting/execution in a solid digital signage solution. There's a lot of talk on the show floor about specs, updates, competitive advantages, and the like, and while those certainly deserve consideration, getting a digital signage network off the ground requires some degree of relationship and collaboration. Let's be honest - it's much more fulfilling (and perhaps more profitable in the long run) to collaborate with people who not only have the best stuff for the job, but also share a common set of values as you. Or at least embody a certain amount of approachability.
Creative Excellence in the Age of User-Generated Content
More and more platforms are adding or integrating some sort of content creation feature for their users to be able to quickly and/or cheaply generate their own content. That's not necessarily new information, but I was curious to ask a few industry friends from these platforms what their thoughts were on the challenge of handing the design keys off to users who may not have the basic design sense to avoid creating custom disasters. We've discussed this concern as a team at Screenfeed as we roll out more configurability to new products, and it sounds like a common solution is providing pre-fab themes and templates as a starting point. I think it's probably the best first step in solving the challenge. All that to say, I've yet to see someone execute a more robust solution along the lines of website building platforms like Wix and Squarespace, and digital media creation platforms like Canva and Adobe Spark. There's certainly an opportunity to provide more responsive and intelligent design guardrails in these features for digital signage, especially when it comes to typography and color coordination. The capability is out there, so it's only a matter of time...