By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Trade show signage promotes brand awareness and attracts new customers. Some exhibitors require their booths to have private meeting rooms, auditory displays, and hanging signage. But hardware can be costly and only affordable for big corporations.
One solution to costly hardware is using digital signage instead of static exhibit graphics. Digital signage can be LED walls or flat screen televisions. In part one, we discussed a PSP who creates traditional trade show signage. In part two, we profile a shop that produces graphics using digital signage.
Decades of Shows
Established in 1983, Skyline Boston is a distributor of Skyline Displays of MA–started in 1980. Skyline Boston began with only one employee and have now grown to 17. Their corporate company employs over 200 people in over 40 regional distributors across the US and worldwide. “Back in the early 80s we had only a handful of regional distributors, now we have over 40 in the US and a worldwide network with various international vendor partners,” says Brian Butler, account executive, Skyline Boston.
Skyline Displays specializes in custom exhibit solutions of nearly any size. The company started with the intent of creating portable hardware systems for exhibitors. As trade shows evolved, companies stressed the importance of customization and Skyline met their demands with graphic production.
They began with only several simple exhibit solutions but now offer over 15 current product lines. In the 1980’s, Skyline Displays offered 10×10 spaces. “Today, the majority of our portable and custom modular designs are created all the way up to 50×50 double deck solutions. But we still provide service and create solutions for the 10×10 exhibitor,” says Butler.
Skyline Boston is known for integrating digital graphics with print. Butler shares that while exhibiting in a trade show is very expensive, incorporating present technology with print can help cut costs while maintaining an attractive display.
“It is generally less expensive to update your digital message on a flat screen than it is to print new static exhibit graphics for your trade show system. Integrating flat screens and mixing in some sort of audience engagement is also a tool to stand out in the crowd,” he says. Along with digital displays, Butler urges his clients to use touchscreens as well. “80 percent of my clients that include audio visual in their space do these two options,” he adds.
While large stages and LED walls are visually appealing, they can also be costly. “A very small percentage of exhibitors have the need and budget to incorporate large stages and LED walls. LED walls are fantastic because they can be built to virtually any size and are completely seamless–no breaks or line can be seen across the tiles.” But standard flat screens constraint the exhibitor to choose from standard screen sizes.
Skyline Boston produces the majority of their static graphics on fabric using a dye-sublimation process because it allows for larger sized graphics. Fabric is also light weight and durable. “We still produce roll-able laminated graphics, the majority are produced using either our inkjet or Lambda printers,” says Butler.
Incorporating digital signage with static graphics may be on the rise. “It’s my opinion that trade show exhibits will soon be more digital than static graphics,” shares Butler. One of the problems with this trend is the cost of digital displays. “It is extremely expensive to create a large LED wall and not many companies have the budget or ability to justify the cost,” says Butler.
Until then, it appears that exhibitors will most likely use flat screens until the costs lower. He adds, “I liken it to cell phones. 25 years ago only the wealthiest 1 percent of the world had them. But a market was created for all of us when the costs came down.”
For the third year in a row, Skyline Boston served AirStrip Technologies at the 2016 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Las Vegas, NV. In August the company requested numerous flat screens to demonstrate their products and required private meeting rooms with a 30×40 space–1200 square feet.
With the show beginning in February, the entire exhibit design was approved before October. To stand out from the competition Skyline Boston integrated digital signage. The PSP had AirStrip Technologies use miniature PCs to run their software demonstrations on flat screens provided by them.
“We wanted to make sure there was no one else like them at the show,” says Butler. The hardware included SkyRise and Envoy exhibit systems. The SkyRise wall system is an aluminum frame system accompanied with the exhibitor’s choice of fabric graphics, frosted windows, or semi-rigid panels. Envoy is designed to allow graphics to stand out while fabric conceals hardware. For the backlit of the overhead hanging signs the company used PictureCubes. PictureCubes attract attention in small spaces and can be hung, used as tables or standing displays.
One of the biggest challenges Skyline Boston had was hanging the PictureCubes. “The signs were installed the first day of move-in and somehow overnight they turned 90 degrees so the specific message was facing the wrong aisle,” says Butler. For liability reasons, overhead riggings are handled under the jurisdiction of a specific labor union. “It took the union a day to come back to rotate it to how it should be set,” he adds.
Butler says the AirStrip Technologies job was unique–like all of their jobs. Because Skyline Boston works with clients in all major industries, the company is constantly creating and integrating digital signage in different ways. “Our pharmaceutical clients are heavily regulated so any digital media and static graphics require a lot of small text and disclaimers. Some of our other clients approach their message as a billboard not a bulletin board,” adds Butler.
Overall, AirStrip Technologies was satisfied with their booth. Skyline Boston used bright colors and flat screens to deliver an attractive booth for drawing in attendees. “The show was flawless, and the client was very pleased,” says Butler.
Skyline Boston relies on experience and digital displays to produce quality trade show signage for clients, like the recent job completed for AirStrip Technologies. To attract attendees to the booth, trade show signage needs to be stunning and professional. Skyline Boston maintains both of these qualities by incorporating flat screen televisions to their displays. Digital signage can not only improve the booth’s appearance, but it can also help exhibitor’s control costs.
Dec2016, Digital Output DOTS1612