Although the curtains have closed on the 2013 ISA Sign Expo, initial reports from the association and exhibitors alike indicate that the industry is healthy and is continuing its growth path. ISA reported that the overall attendance for this year's show 19,700, which is a double digit increase over 2012. There were 593 exhibitors and the Expo floor space topped 202,000 square feet—another record for the ISA.
"ISA International Sign Expo 2013 was an unqualified success with higher overall attendance, a greater number of exhibitors and tremendous interest in educational events," said Lori Anderson, ISA president and CEO. "Exhibitors told me that made important connections and saw great sales on the Expo floor. All of those signs point to a strong outlook for our industry."
Of course, many exhibitors take the opportunity of annual trade shows and expos to launch new products and this year was no exception. There were a number of new products on the show floor, some of which had been previously outlined as part of our pre-show coverage.
So what stood out the most? I'll highlight a few new products that I think offered some of the biggest buzz on the trade show floor.
1. EFI's SmartSign Analytics
EFI unveiled SmartSign Analytics (SSA) at ISA, a system that automatically captures and analyzes signage viewership and engagement data. Conceived and shown as a technology demonstration by EFI’s Online Print Solutions (OPS) unit, SSA will help signage providers and retail marketers better measure and understand the effectiveness of their efforts.
A single SSA unit includes a webcam attached to a sign, connected to a computer or tablet running a partner facial recognition software and EFI’s proprietary SSA software for data organization, analytics and reporting. In an actual retail implementation, most marketers will likely deploy multiple units to measure, compare and improve signage performance at different stores or at different in-store locations.
The SSA system’s webcam and software combination detects the presence of people within viewing range and determines which of them are actually viewing a sign. Eye-tracking tools on the SSA system also allow it to calculate how much time is spent viewing signage.
Beyond those metrics, the advanced SSA technology provides even more-detailed demographic information. Using advanced, proprietary facial pattern algorithms, the SSA system assigns a gender and age range to each viewer, providing a wealth of market-segment information that businesses cannot quickly or easily collect by any other means.
An embedded, failsafe routine in the software ensures that the SSA system discards facial pattern data on the fly, with no actual images of faces stored during operation.
2. Durst Rho 1012 and 1030
Durst US—although introducing two new machines at ISA—only had one on display. The Rho 1012 (on display at ISA) equipped with Durst’s new 12-picoliter Quadro Array print head technology is designed to bring high image quality to the production printing environment. The Rho 1012 offers customers the highest print quality available in the segment, featuring the new 12-picoliter Durst Quadro Array technology that can print at speeds up to 5,000 sqt./hr. The small drop technology implemented gives the user the ability to meet the quality and volume requirements normally reserved for high-end lithographic applications.
The Rho 1030—complemented by fully automated media handling / operating configurations—delivers print speeds of up to 10,000 sqft/hr. This speed combined with the printer’s fully automated configurations gives customers a long-run volume, large-format UV inkjet printing capability that provides high quality for their requirements.
HP's Designjet L26100 Printer is designed for small PSPs who are interested in the benefits of latex printing technologies. This upgradeable device—featuring HP 792 Designjet Latex inks—offers users the ability to get started with latex technology. The 61-inch HP Designjet L26100 Printer also delivers reliable, low-maintenance printing and fast delivery times with prints that dry inside the printer, ready for immediate finishing or use.