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DiSCO provides sign o’ the times

Andy Stout 1 February 2011
DiSCO provides sign o' the times

With over 120 delegates registered – 20% up on last year – there can be little doubting the growing significance of digital signage to the AV industry. An implicit theme of the opening presentations at DiSCO yesterday was the fragmentation in what is still a relatively immature market – relative, that is, to AV industry staples such as presentations, videoconferencing, home automation and education.

The opening presentation from Andrew Wood of Al Barq focused on the opportunity presented by the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) market. “Advertising budgets are back in a big way,” he said – something which many in the industry can only dream of. Mobile DooH is very significant, he said.

Lars Peters of ECE flatmedia reviewed the opportunity presented specifically by shopping malls, of which his company will serve 52 by the end of this year with more than 1,000 screens. “DooH is still not top of mind for most agencies,” he said. “Beyond that, we are a new industry and we still have to prove to them that what we offer really works.”

For David Dalzell of ONELAN, fragmentation exists in the types of digital signage network that are characterised by variations in size and diversity. He described the opportunity he saw for the industry in substantially reducing the cost of very large networks by re-engineering existing DLNA TVs to be network-driven, and the growing availability of low cost ‘stream mirrors’.

There was significant interest in the announcement by Andreas Soupliotis of Ayuda Media Systems that his company was donating its Splash media player to the industry as an open standard. “This is an initiative that makes a lot of sense for the entire industry,” he said, pointing out that having one player rather than hundreds would enable software vendors to concentrate on their real value add – the content management system – while also bringing benefits to screen manufacturers and network operators alike.
Anyone doubting the potential of the digital signage opportunity can only be reassured by the entry into the market of industry giants such as Microsoft and Intel, and the latter’s Jose Avalos talked about the substantial investment his company is making in understanding the market and in trying to understand usage patterns and create standards – as evidenced by the company’s new “open pluggable specification”.

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