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Signs of Signage

Jun 9, 2009 12:00 PM, By Michael Goldman

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I wondered in this space last month about what kind of energy we’ll encounter at InfoComm this year. Many of us will be learning the answer to that question around the time that you are reading this, but heading into the show, the energy of the organization’s top guy was certainly high. I chatted with Randal Lemke, Ph.D., InfoComm International’s executive director, for SVC’s Road to InfoComm podcast series, and found him optimistic about the show’s virility in a weak economy and passionate about its relevance.

Lemke was expecting about 850 exhibitors for the show, which is down from last year’s event in Las Vegas, similar to the previous year’s show in Anaheim, Calif., and more robust than the exhibitor number from Orlando, Fla., the year before that. As with almost all tradeshows this year, he expected attendance to be down, but made the point that, up or down, InfoComm remains very much “the largest show any place in the world where you will find AV products.”

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Among the products and trends he’s pointing people toward is digital signage. Most indicators—including many in this issue, which we’ve largely devoted to digital signage—are that digital signage is the industry’s leading growth market right now. InfoComm is reflecting that reality this year, with the show’s Digital Signage Technology Summit and Digital Signage Pavilion. Digital signage, Lemke points out, deserves such real estate when you consider it is one of the few technology applications that applies to almost every AV market segment. Those laboring in the retail world are on board and so are those in the financial, educational (see this issue’s cover story), government, health care, and entertainment sectors.

In keeping with InfoComm’s educational mission, Lemke says now that AV professionals across the spectrum understand the basic ins and outs of digital signage, they are now thirsting to become experts in the technology.

“For many people, [digital signage] is about the application of video and other information outside of the traditional boardroom and educational venues where we were—seeing how it can be used for advertising anything and as a direct way of finding and dispersing information,” Lemke says. “To gather people’s attention, it has to be flexible in terms of message and understandable. Getting and learning the technology, integrating it, putting it up where there is a possibility of the message [having a great impact], brings value to customers, but [integrators] need to understand about the content and how to build the technology. Our show this year will have lots of great examples of that.”

As does this issue, tailored specifically to an InfoComm audience this month. We hope you enjoy it and find it useful as an adjunct to the educational part of your mission in Orlando. Have a safe and productive InfoComm, and check out our blog at

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