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InfoComm 2004 promises a look at tomorrow in digital signage

Those just regaining their energy from a successful NAB2004 six weeks ago may not want to start thinking about their summer vacation plans just yet. The International Communications Industries Association’s (ICIA) annual InfoComm 2004 is underway at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta and runs through Friday, June 11. This year’s show features a record 625 exhibitors, while attendance is expected to reach unprecedented levels as well.

For marketers, designers and managers looking to see what the future holds in digital signage display technologies, several leading vendors will be on hand displaying cutting-edge projectors, plasma screens, LCDs and other display technologies. Meanwhile, executives and industry experts will share insights on best practices and how to best utilize these technologies in marketing.

The ICIA has lined up dozens of conferences, panels and seminars related to the industry, 16 of which are dedicated to display and projection technology. Wednesday’s keynote address from Peter Putman, president of Roam Consulting, titled “The Flat Panel Bandwagon: Plasma, LCD and emerging technology” highlights the list. Putnam will discuss the latest technology and pricing trends for the two dominant flat panel technologies, thin-film transistor liquid-crystal displays (TFT LCDs) and plasma display panels (PDPs). Other emerging technologies such as OLEDs, FEDs and SEDs will also be discussed. Putnam’s keynote will be followed by “Projectors – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know in 2 Hours,” a seminar hosted by Clint Hoffman, vice president of international marketing, Kramer Electronics. Hoffman will walk attendees through the workings of the major projection technologies – LCD, LCOS, DLP and CRT – and then will outline how to choose the right technology for your application. He will also examine the state of the market — the history of growth by product segment and the projected future growth by segments. Putnam and Hoffman’s addresses were sold out prior to the show. Other display/projection-related speaking engagements include:

  • “Display Evaluation Essentials,” hosted by Steve Somers, vice president of engineering for Extron Electronics.
  • “Advanced Display Technologies,” hosted by Alan Brawn, national products marketing manager for Samsung Electronics’ digital information technology division.
  • “e-Signage: A Review of Digital & Electronic Signage and its Potential as the Next Growth Segment of the AV Industry,” hosted by John J. Thomas of Visitec Marketing Associates.

In addition to display and projection technology, there are 10 tracks devoted to streaming media including a sold-out three-day event with Scott R. Sharer, president of Communication Design Group, that will give a comprehensive view of the art of streaming. There are also tracks on how to use streaming in corporate events and communications. The “Intro to Streaming Video for Corporate Events” track – hosted by Donald Guzauckas, Jr., general manager of HB Group, – shows how the technology can be integrated into internal communications within a company. Simon Mouer’s “How Does Video Streaming Fit in with Your Overall Collaboration Strategy?” track is also dedicated to showing how to drive internal communications. Mouer is the director of sales engineering at TANDBERG.

Rental and staging equipment’s niche in InfoComm has also grown. The “Today’s Rental and Staging Market – and Tomorrow’s” all-day “Super Tuesday” session is designed to give attendees an overview of the market and guide them in how to go about exploring the remaining five rental and staging speaking events being held throughout the remainder of the week.

And if the wide variety of speaking panels does not satisfy, there are several themed galleries in addition to the individual booths and exhibitions. The Large Venue Display Gallery will feature the latest projection technology for arenas, amphitheaters and other large gatherings. Vendors at the gallery include Barco Events USA, Christie Digital Systems, JVC, NEC and Sony Electronics. (See May 26 issue of Digital Signage Update for more details).

Three technology pavilions also amass a lot of the industry’s leading technology in one room. The Collaborative Conferencing Pavilion will showcase video-, audio- and Web-conferencing technologies. The top lighting and staging products will headline the Lighting and Staging Pavilion, while the Streaming Media Pavilion will house the cutting-edge products in that market segment. The Projection Summit will look at projection technologies from the supply chain perspective and the channel’s viewpoint.

The products themselves will bring digital signage technologies to new heights, widths, lengths and contrasts. Samsung Electronics, the second-largest plasma display panel provider in terms of marketshare, recently unveiled its 57-inch LCD monitor and another plasma display panel with a 10,000:1 contrast ratio. However, LG Electronics enters InfoComm on a major roll having introduced a few products in the months leading up to the event. The company recently showed a new 76-inch plasma monitor. Another plasma display product sporting an industry-best 1500cd/m² brightness. LG has also gone on record indicating plans to match Samsung’s 10,000:1 contrast ratio towards the end of the year.

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