Ask the Board – March 13, 2017 | THOMAS KUNKA


What tips would you give to first- time attendees at Digital Signage Expo?”

Advice for the newcomer:

As a member of the board and a veteran attendee of Digital Signage Expo, I am often asked what advice I would give to first-time attendees. Such advice is important as newcomers can easily be overwhelmed by the dazzling technologies, manufacturers and vendors looking to sell their products and services as well as the busy and glamorous backdrop that is the city of Las Vegas. Here are my top three tips:

Know your objectives:

When you attend DSE, it is a good idea to know what you want to walk away with. Whether it is information about the latest display technologies, mounts, enclosures or content management platforms, you want to make sure to get what you came for. If you wish to make contacts with peers, make a specific note so that you don’t lose sight of that.


Make a list of the vendors and manufacturers that you want to connect with ahead of time, and make sure that you do so. If your objective is to develop a shortlist of contenders to provide your next content management system, and you neglect to visit the booths of several key players, your list may not be complete and you will not have a chance to evaluate products and companies on level ground.

See everything:

DSE is more about quality than quantity.. Unlike other trade shows that have show floors that may take up the space of several football fields, DSE is not overly large. The focus on digital signage technology provides an opportunity to see everything there is to see. My advice is to not rush through the show floor and consider the job done. Depending on your objectives, you may choose to methodically visit every booth and engage vendors and manufacturers in detail. Others may prefer to do an initial pass through the show floor quickly making note of which booths they want to visit in more depth in order to accomplish their goals

Regardless, every booth has something to offer and presents an opportunity to build both knowledge and relationships. Even if you do not plan to purchase what certain vendors have to offer, knowing what products and services exist may be of great value down the line.

Make connections:

In addition to the connections you will make with the industry, DSE presents an opportunity to make many peer connections. Being from higher education, I try to make contact with as many people from higher education as I can. Those in our vertical have always been collaborative and cooperative rather than competitive. DSE is an opportunity for us to learn from one another to compare what we do with digital signage on our respective campuses. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the dazzling technology on display and the breadth and depth of technical options that are available. Connecting with peers that have experience in digital signage and at DSE can help put everything into perspective and into more familiar terms. Strike up conversations with peers while attending sessions, workshops, industry roundtables and even walking the show floor. If you are in higher education and see someone with “University of …” on their nametag, you may have just found somebody who is new to DSE like yourself or a veteran such as myself. Either way, you’re building relationships going forward.


It almost goes without saying that Digital Signage Expo represents a valuable experience for those interested in digital signage technologies. While other conferences and trade shows do have some digital signage represented, it is at DSE where it is focused and concentrated for those who are looking to take full advantage of all that it has to offer. Knowing your objectives, seeing everything and making connections will help you get the most out of your DSE experience.

About Author

Senior Application Specialist
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

End User Council

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