All kidding aside, what the industry is now facing is a showdown between two for-profit groups backing two different industry organizations. And I say showdown because, despite whatever political posturing may be going on in public, it's clear to all that our tiny little industry simply doesn't need two dedicated organizations to foster education, advocacy and similar goals. Simply put, NetWorld Alliance, the publishing company behind DigitalSignageToday.com, has been nurturing the Digital Signage Association for several years now. The group has been very successful in signing up members, and has held a number of well-attended webinars and talks, but has been hampered by the fact that they're essentially owned and operated by NWA. Meanwhile, many digital signage companies have been critical of ExpoNation for running a successful trade show but not doing enough to be an advocate for the industry.
Image credit: C'est la Viva
Can't we all just get along?
I'd really, really hate to see two anemic organizations competing for resources and mindshare, so it'd be best for ExpoNation and DSA to work out their differences. As Adrian also noted in the article I mentioned above, the DSA folks were due to vote on whether to detach from NetWorld Alliance and become an independent not-for-profit entity next week. With 420 members and a fair amount of inertia, it seems like the best possible outcome would be for the DSA to detach, establish themselves as a new 501(c)(6) -- or become a chapter of some other similar organization -- and have Exponation serve as a contributing member. Or if the DSF really is properly incorporated already, perhaps the DSA simply transfers their membership (and even their name) to the DSF. Either way, the industry would wind up with a single, unified organization with an instant member base, sound financial backing, and an appropriately open and unencumbered legal standing.
To an outsider like me (WireSpring doesn't belong to either the DSA or the DSF), a single combined organization seem like the best outcome. However, I'm sure that the people looking out from the inside have their own opinion of what the ideal outcome of this situation would be. And considering that next week's DSE show will feature both the general meeting of the DSA and the formal introduction of the DSF, it seems safe to assume that some significant changes will be coming to one or both of these groups in the near future.
Who will prevail in the struggle between the Digital Signage Federation and the Digital Signage Association? Weigh in by leaving a comment below.