Face to face: NEC Showcase 2012 at the O2
This week, NEC Display Solutions Europe organised its third Showcase at the O2, with a queue to get into the O2 before its doors opened at 10am. Last year, the showcase was held at Battersea Power Station. The exhibition space was smaller, brighter, and very hot, but it was also well attended.
NEC has been a partner of the O2 since it re-opened in 2008 and it managed to get a prime position for its showcase. The hall, which was at least 50 percent bigger than last year's, was divided in nine zones: DOOH; Education; Professional Office; 3D and Leisure; Innovation; Colour; Healthcare; Transport and Retail – the last two of which were new zones. The areas were consistent with current vertical markets and all but two featured digital out-of-home solutions, demonstrating how widely used this segment is.
Visitors were able to meet face-to-face with a total of 47 partner companies, including Intel, U-Touch, Smart, Scala and Onelan, plus internal NEC units such the IT Solutions division. Seeing the different technologies integrated in real-life situations was ideal to provide NEC partners the chance to show existing and potential clients their latest solutions. Half of the total attendees were end users.
Also at the show was Vukunet, NEC's automated ad delivery platform and marketplace for DOOH media. Vukunet was formally launched in Europe this year at ISE 2012 in Amsterdam, and it made its UK debut at the NEC Showcase.
Dirk Hülsermann, manager of DOOH Solutions for NEC Display Solutions Europe, did a presentation at The Screen Briefings* conference, which was held at the O2 at the same time as the NEC Showcase. He said: "Until now, there was no way for an advertising agency to communicate with all the different networks – because they speak different electronic languages and also because the market is too fragmented. For the first time, Vukunet brings together advertising agencies and digital out-of-home media owners in one single cloud-based solution. Media owners can aggregate their networks into a nation-wide buy with Vukunet. Vukunet turns any internet-connected screen into an advertising face, which can generate incremental revenue for the screen owner."
Vukunet's first UK partnership is with Wonderworks Walkway Media. The contract will see Walkway Media supply a DOOH, signage, information and advertising network across a target of 30 shopping centre locations in 2012 commencing with the recent installation at several independent sites, including the Criterion shopping malls at Slough, Dalston and Sutton.
New to the show was Wonderworks 3D, also part of the Wonderworks group but separate from Walkway Media, which was welcoming visitors by the entrance of the showcase with a 'Pepper Ghost' holographic display. Using Musion's Eyeliner film screen, and an HD NEC projector, the company has packaged the holographic solution to be used in luxury shop windows and other applications where companies want to wow their clients.
Matrox Graphics, a manufacturer of graphics cards, had its fingers in the pies of several zones at the showcase. Its high-performance Mura MPX Series videowall controller boards and M-Series multidisplay graphics cards were featured in a variety of environments as go-to multidisplay solutions.
At PSCo's corner the Matrox's Mura was integrated on a four-by-four videowall made up of 16 of NEC Display Solutions's new X463UN 46" (1.2m), ultra-narrow-bezel displays. The set-up stood at 4.5m high in portrait mode at the show's DOOH zone. The Professional Office of the Future zone featured a two-by-two, Mura-powered videowall leveraging an Exterity codec as well as a player from VisioSign. Matrox was integrated in video conferencing solutions, working with HD VC LifeSize in transport information displays and others. Matrox is just one good example of how NEC partners work together across the board to enable great solutions.
Over 850 people, from clients to AV professionals – and some of NEC competitor companies – walked the floor and networked at this year's NEC Showcase.
*The Screen Briefings took place simultaneously at the O2's Cineworld Cinema. There was a morning session presenting the topics 'A Digital Journey' and 'Digital Engagements', and in the afternoon there was the Vukunet presentation and some applied technologies talks touching upon 'Augmented Reality', presented by Grand Visual, 'The World According to 3D' from White Space and Burner Mobile gave an insight on 'Mobile Interaction'.