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More Touch Screens, New Companies on the Digital Signage Horizon

The Digital Signage Expo kicked off its tenth anniversary show Feb. 27 in Las Vegas allowing large manufacturers and small startup companies to show their new products to the world.

Chris Gibbs, president of Exponation LLC, which puts on the Digital Signage Expo, said the show’s tenth year has grown tremendously, especially in recent years. This year’s show includes more than 69,000 square feet of displays from more than 210 vendors, along with representatives from 77 countries and 120 different education sessions for attendees.

The 2013 show also included space for small startup companies so they could afford space to launch their products if they were attending the show for the first time.
“We believe it’s kind of a barometer of this industry,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs said trends at this year’s show are companies launching larger screens because consumers have said 42 inch and 60 inch screens are not big enough to fit their needs. Some screens are reaching 90 inches in size while getting thinner and more companies are creating video walls.
More hardware companies are also showing up, Gibbs said, due to more demand for digital signage from companies.

Tablet technology is also a hot item, Gibbs said because consumers are looking for interaction with the signs.

“You’re seeing society much more comfortable with touch devices, he said. “They want it to move. And if it doesn’t move they’re confused.”

SunBriteTV came to the show also looking to expand its presence with mass transit systems across the country with the company’s weather and sun glare resistant monitors, which don’t require air conditioning units to cool them or large protective cases to halt the elements. Company leaders said they have shot their monitors with a gun and paintball gun, sprayed them down with a pressure washer, lit a unit on fire four times and even smeared it in honey then let a bear jump on it and defecate on it and it still worked.

Tom Dixon, vice president of marketing for SunBrite, said the monitors have survived at temperatures ranging from 40 below zero to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

He said the company has also added the ability to have touch screen displays while keeping its strength.

“So with the integration, basically what we have is one durable, badass, all-weather, gigantic outdoor iPad,” Dixon said. “It’s where we’re going.”

One company trying to build a bigger presence in the U.S. mass transit market is Axiomtek, which featured its TV sets used to be placed on buses in Taiwan, which turn off automatically when the bus ignition is turned off. Axiomtek regional sales mananger Sampson Chen said the company worked with the largest outdoor ad media company in Taiwan as part of a project that fit the TV’s onto 2,000 buses there. He said they plan to duplicate the project in Brazil then find some customers in the U.S.

“The neat thing is we provide a high level of support,” he said.

Gibbs said the technology advances coupled with increasing affordability of new technology is making the new items more accessible to smaller companies, so momentum is continuing to grow for DSE, with vendors already signing on for next year’s show.