The Digital Signage Expo was quite an interesting experience, and this being my first one, meant that everything was brand new. The most important thing I learned? Shoes. Bring 2 or more pairs of shoes. That is a lot of walking.
Aopen's MP67 using the Sandy Bridge Processor (which supports WiDi)
Aopen has a new model (the MP67) that is using the newest Intel Processor, Sandy Bridge. Sandy Bridge is all about CPU/GPU power, the same as it is with the other newer Core Processors, the i3, i5 and i7. When it comes to a Display that can handle HD videos, images, flash and other high quality content and still hold up, the new Sandy Bridge and Core Processors are the way to go.
Now the Sandy Bridge was only the first cool element about this model. I learned that apparently all of the Core Processors (i3, i5, i7 and Sandy Bridge) have the ability for "WiDi". WiDi is wireless Display connectivity. Basically you can use a regular wireless signal to transmit the video to the Display's monitor. I was bummed out that it wasn't actually set up on the screen they had there, but man, what a world of possibilities. Check out this page for all you need to know about WiDi, very cool.
Via Embedded's Nano Processor
The Via Nano from Via Embedded is a fantastic processor for Digital Signage. The nano is built with an architecture where they take nearly all of the GPU processing away the CPU, and do it all on an entirely different GPU chipset. Seeing it working in action on 4 screens connected to one computer, they had an HD video on one screen, and other very kinetic content on the others and there was no jerkiness, no pausing, it all looked great. All these screens were running on a tiny Via Embedded box with their signature Nano processor and though they didn't have any pricing information, it's very likely that these would be cheaper than the Intel and AMD Processors simply because they are not as well known. For someone that is looking for some reliable hardware, definitely check out the Via Nano from Via Embedded.
LocaModa is just cool. They connect Digital Content with social media and mobile messaging, so you can send messages that show up on your screen, show Facebook content, tweets, all sorts of stuff. They even have content that you cna put into your presentation for free at http://www.wiffiti.com. if you are looking at including Social Media in your Presentations, you should check these guys out.
Philips "One Wire" Technology
Everyone knows that RS232 communication is a cool element to have for your screens, this way you can turn them off, turn them on, see their status, etc. The problem I see is no one wants to connect those old RS232 adapters to their monitors and computers, even if they can find a way to do it. Philips is currently in the process of a great idea that they say should be out this year. They call it "One Wire". With One Wire, you can control and monitor a screen the same way you would through RS232 communication, with the HDMI connection. How cool is that? Turn the screen off, turn it on, all that jazz, all through the HDMI connection. I was very stoked.
I was constantly on the lookout for Sports Content, as I know several of our PNO's really want access to Sports scores in Rise Vision, and I found 2 Sports Scores content providers that you may want to check out if you need scores. First was Stats. Stats have been around for about 30 years, and these guys definitely know their stuff. They can provide customized feeds that look exactly how you need it to, as well as offering exactly what you need to show, real time sports, pre and post game info, eveverything you can think of.
The other guys were Digichief. These guys provide everything, Sports, entertainment, you name it, and it looked great. The cool thing about Digichief that really stuck out is they could send this information over in an RSS format so you could read it with our RSS Gadget. Both had great content, and for any reseller interested in Sports, I have no qualms about recommending Stats and Digichief.
LG's Blackening Free and Transparent Displays
While the Transparent Display was still just a prototype, LG brought some of the coolest toys to the DSE. Check out this picture of the "Blackening Free" Display next to a regular Display:
Notice the HUGE blackmark in the screen on the right? I made sure to take this picture late in the day on Thursday, since they started on Wednesday both looking perfect, but over time, the one Display got this black mark that got bigger and bigger.
The Transparent Display was just the coolest thing ever. Check it out:
The building and park you see behind the content is a real model. How cool would it be to have this thing on the window of an office or something? No real date as to when it would be available other than later this year, but if your Displays need some wow factor, I think this is it:).
M&A Technology's Companion "ePad"
I discovered this completely by accident. I was sitting down for lunch, and couldn't help but overhear the two gentlemen next to me discussing why the iPad won't work for some networks. I chimed in that I had had a similar discussion with someone and the reason why was because the iPad's would not be allowed into the network since it wasn't known if they could connect to the Active Directory. The one guy said "exactly!" and whipped out this little device. I found out a bit later he was with M&A Technology, who had come up with what can effectively be called a "Windows iPad". it has similar dimensions to an iPad, is totally touchscreen interactive, and is running the Windows 7 OS. What I thought was REALLY cool in regards to this device and Rise Vision, is you don't need to wait for a Player, it would use the Windows Player. So if you have an end user who needs mobile presentations NOW, here you go. Best of all, they go for 699 USD.
Well, that's a small portion of the stuff I learned and saw. I could go on forever about all the cool hardware and software at the DSE, but we would be here forever. I hope you find the information above useful!