Signs of the Times - April 2013 - (Page 136)

EDITORIALLY SPEAKING “I’m excited to see where the on-premise sign industry fits in.” By Wade Swormstedt And the Sign Industry . . .? The EDS equation still has many variables. I’m more in Las Vegas) than I have been inSign Expo intrigued about this month’s ISA (April 3-6 several years. It’s sold out for the first time, with a record amount of exhibit space, which is excellent news for the sign industry as a whole. But that’s not why I’m excited. It’s the Digital Dynamic Park and the new emphasis on digital dynamic signage, electronic digital signage (EDS), electronic signage, digital signage, or whatever name you prefer. There’s even going to be a special DDP reception on the first night of the show. I’m excited to see where the on-premise sign industry fits in. Our first significant examination of the EDS (the acronym we prefer) market appeared exactly a decade ago, when Darek Johnson, ST’s senior technology editor/analyst, presented the results of our inaugural EDS survey (see ST, April 2003, page 58). We included EMCs (electronic message centers) in that coverage. Darek ended up doing six of those annual surveys, with the last one coming in 2008 (see ST, March 2008, page 136). We really tried to document the EDS market’s status, to present it as an opportunity for sign companies and the industry as a whole. Years ago, I was invited once to speak at a Digital Signage Expo (I believe that’s the correct name) to provide an overview of the on-premise sign industry. I spoke with numerous exhibitors at a POPAI Marketplace show at Chicago’s Navy Pier years ago, where an LCD display manufacturer told me, “Companies like ours are going to put customers like yours [signshops] out of business.” Often, I felt we were trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I’m still waiting to see where the on-premise sign industry fits in. Two months ago, Louis M. Brill, our technology contributor, wrote a fascinating piece about the interior, EDS system implemented by Japanese retailer Uniqlo (see ST, February 2013, page 58). He talks about three participating companies, NEC USA (which provided the screens), Playnetwork (which handles the infrastructure and installation) and Adaptive Technology Group (which provides mounting and rigging). To the average end user, any distinction would be irrelevant, but I wouldn’t consider NEC a sign company any more than I would consider Daktronics or Watchfire a sign company. I consider them suppliers to sign companies because, typically, a sign company builds some kind of sign around the purchased EMC. Similarly, we would view wholesale-only companies as suppliers to (and a critical component of) the sign industry, but not as sign companies per se, which sell directly to end users. Also, I consider electronic billboards to be 136 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / APRIL 2013 / www.signweb.com outside of the on-premise sign industry. So I didn’t see where the sign industry fits in. When I first encountered the EDS market as a separate entity, I gradually became aware that it and the sign industry both revered the same thing. But from completely opposite views. The sign industry viewed “the box” as the critical component, and the content was, eh, whatever. The EDS market viewed the content as the driving force, and “the box” was, eh, whatever. A commodity at best. That’s a bit overstated now, as technology of both hardware and software have improved, but their basic orientations remain unchanged. Of course, it also depends on your definition of “sign industry.” Although there’s some crossover in any industry, our core definition of “sign companies” doesn’t include companies that primarily provide POP, outdoor advertising, government signs or engraving (trophies, awards). Nor would our definition of “signs” include the LCD displays in airports that list all of the flights, for example. So I still don’t see where the sign industry fits in. To me, by definition, virtually all sign companies are custom sign companies. With the notable exception of the behemoth sign companies that serve retail/ restaurant/lodging/oil-company chains, the vast majority of sign companies sells a different sign to each customer. A sign that includes a stock EMC is still a custom sign if a sign cabinet’s built around it. I’ve always wondered why most sign companies quit their selling at the front door. With the exception of mall signage (which is still primarily on the store’s exterior), the vast majority of on-premise signage resides outdoors. I don’t know why more sign companies don’t try to sell interior signage. The axiom holds true that it’s infinitely easier to sell more to any existing customer than to find a new one. I don’t know why more sign companies don’t get involved with exhibit/tradeshow graphics. In both cases, these are highly custom products that would seemingly require the same materials and skills that sign companies already possess. I’m all for anything that expands a sign company’s repertoire. But it seems like EDS displays are simply commodities that someone bolts/plugs into a wall. So I’m excited about going to the ISA show to see how the sign industry fits into the EDS market. ■ http://www.signweb.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - April 2013

Signs of the Times - April 2013
Contents
ST Update
Cut Your Ink Costs
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review
Technology Review
Sign Museum News
New Products
The 2013 International Sign Contest
Leasing Equipment
The ISA Sign Expo 2013 Preview
Industry News
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - April 2013

https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_202010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_202008
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_202006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_202005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_blackbook_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201706
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_bg2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201606
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_bg2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201507
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201505
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201503
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_bg2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201502
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201408
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201407
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201406
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201405
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_bg2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201308
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201307
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201306
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201305
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_bg2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201302
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201208
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201207
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201206
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201205
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_bg2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201202
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201201
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com