This year’s ISE didn’t put sustainability in the spotlight. But developments show a path to less energy consumption.
When summarizing ISE 2024 in terms of sustainability highlights, I believe it is fair to call it a mixed bag. While the previous edition in 2023 clearly had a very prominent green profile in terms of visibility on booths and in discussions, this year’s ISE painted a much more modest picture. Barcelona 2024 focused on new topics such as AI and the power of pixels. However, although the visual presentation was more concealed, this does not mean that “green” as a topic was forgotten.
Looking at the booths of major hardware suppliers, you could mainly find references to the corporate agenda on sustainability. The companies were talking about their net zero ambitions and related in their booth designs to their corporate initiatives, including how to deal with carbon emissions in the supply chain. Reviewing product highlights, there were fewer revealing testimonials. Last year’s PPDS Tableaux e-paper innovation saw a follow-up on several booths, showing the potential of the niche product for multiple use cases in offices and retail. Sony compared energy consumption of their screens with competitors’ products backstage, while Sharp/NEC and PPDs launched new energy-saving product lines just before the show.
Software companies could relate in our talks to the potential of getting greener, they are looking into architectural features, where the load moves from the CPU to the GPU to reduce energy consumption. Their booths were, however, very discrete in advertising greener strategies. So far, Software companies leave it mainly to the hardware sector to talk about green. I believe there is room for a software player to penetrate the issue more thoroughly. Software can contribute a lot both with direct (energy) and indirect savings (labor, time). I would hope that the coming edition of the ISE will see clearer statements in that respect. Having in mind how Broadsign shows a strong commitment to Green Software principles and its sustainability potential, Europe could learn how it is been done by a major North American player.
Another interesting field to penetrate further in terms of Green are signage operations and device management. Here, the ISE 2024 could not shed light on new developments. While the leaders ChromeOS Flex and SignageOS beat the drum for longevity and hassle-free operations green messages remain still more indirect. The complexity is high, as different device management philosophies are not comparable and integrators define their device service standards in a closed system. It would certainly be beneficial to increase the transparency between the capabilities of different approaches to guide the customer: what can be achieved, what can be optimized and what could be treated as standard?
About the AuthorDaniel Oelker is the Green Signage expert of invidis. The invidis impact partner and former Zetadisplay CCO analyses the industry regarding its sustainability impact and writes regularly about the advancements on invidis.com
In summary, I think the change for the better has been initiated, both voluntarily and through regulatory initiatives as the new CSRD- directive which has a direct impact on EU-established companies at reasonable size. We will continue to see smaller improvements in different pockets of the industry. However, if we want to go “high” as an industry, we must unlock the silos between the different parts of the value chain.
So far, a dialogue across companies has hardly started. Establishing a common position in important topics and issues across sectors of the value chain would be a perfect start to show the ambition and potential for Green Signage to the market. It will not be an easy task, but if a company would like to be considered as a leader within sustainability, it should also start acting outside its company comfort zone. Filling the void for common initiatives across hardware, software and operations will be the next big topic for the industry to take care of. We need to talk more with each other – so why not take the opportunity at the different DSS events around the globe including, our European summit on 22/23 May in Munich to accelerate the dialogue. It is time!