InfoComm Comes (or Goes) Home

AVIXA is going out of its way to say that its new Integrated Life @ InfoComm isn’t competitive to the industry’s defacto HomeAV show, CEDIA. But, I call bulls*t.

First, look at this.

That’s basically the what’s new at InfoComm page — letting everyone know what all the new things AVIXA added to the industry’s top ProAV show. And, note that under the header Integrated Life @ InfoComm, the word “home” appears along with the details of the expanded show.

In fact it reads, “We’re expanding the show to include more technologies for smart buildings, homes and spaces where audio, video, control systems and content intersect.”

That says home. They mean home.

First, the backstory.

CEDIA, the association, sold CEDIA, the show, to Emerald Expositions as first reported last January here. In case you don’t know, CEDIA, the show, has historically been the world’s preeminent high-end residential show — while its giant cousin, CES, garners all the attention as the world’s best and biggest consumer electronics or tech show — it’s where all the new gaming systems are launched, where the new TV tech is launched and where nearly everything electronic you use in your home is debuted.

CEDIA, on the other hand, is focused on higher-end residential systems like whole-home audio, smart homes, home theaters and high-quality AV systems.

But, to be perfectly frank, CEDIA, the show, in recent years has lost its compass, in addition to losing Crestron as an exhibitor. In my view, the show has slowly become a hybrid between companies that get lost at CES each year — small DIY app companies and companies trying to copy SONOS — and a high-end cinema theater show. (Note that I didn’t say “theater.” The use of “cinema” is intentional as it’s supposed to delineate between a CEDIA-based projector products and a CES-based projector products. But, even the “cinema” projector companies are at CES now.)

If you find this all confusing, therein lies the problem. It is confusing. And, no one at CEDIA, the show, seems to know what they are, what they want to be or who the right audience is. For years, it was THE home theater and home automation show — it was THE show you’d go to if you did high-end home integration. But, as Apple, Amazon, Google and now Netflix have decimated the traditional home theater profit-centers, CEDIA has straddled the high-end $1,800 tuner market exhibiting next to a start-up the $1.99 home control app company.

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CEDIA is lost.

Enter InfoComm (the show). AVIXA pitched this Integrated Life @ InfoComm campaign by casually dropping into a podcast I had with AVIXA CEO Dave Labuskes the last day of InfoComm last summer. It was intentional. Barely anyone noticed, but I asked him about it off-air afterwards. Dave went out of his way to tell me that it wasn’t going to be a mini-CEDIA at InfoComm in future years, but let’s be honest: Integrated Life @ InfoComm is a mini-CEDIA. And, more power to them.

Now, go here.

Left side. See it?

Yep, InfoComm is going to compete with CEDIA, the show. No doubt about it. And, they’ll be successful.

And what does CEDIA, the association, think? Well, this is where things get interesting. The association, technically, doesn’t have any ownership of the show anymore — remember, Emerald Expositions does. And, interestingly enough — in case you didn’t know this — CEDIA and AVIXA (the association that owns the InfoComm show) co-own the ISE show in Amsterdam together. So, they already partner on a show — a big-ass AV show in Europe. Oh, and that show has both a HomeAV and a ProAV side. Hmm.

So, the USA is getting ready to see InfoComm become the ISE of America. InfoComm will slowly add more and more home AV technology to their programs, their expositions and their special events and we’ll all have to wait to see what becomes of CEDIA, the show.

The only real question is how long AVIXA will continue to deny they are competing with CEDIA?

Gary Kayye

About Gary Kayye

Gary Kayye, founder of rAVe Publications, is one of the most prominent personalities in the audiovisual industry. He has been a contributor to WIRED magazine and a technical advisor and columnist for Sound & Communications magazine as well as an opinionated columnist for rAVe [Publications] since 2003. In addition to his writing and market analysis, Gary has been a product, marketing and business operations consultant to dozens of AV companies in the U.S. and overseas. Clients have included companies such as Sony, Sharp, Epson, Lutron, InFocus, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, NEC and Philips.   Gary, who has been involved with the audiovisual market for over 20 years, was the recipient of the InfoComm 2003 Educator of the Year Award and the 2007 NSCA Instructor of the Year Award. Over the years, he has donated much of his time as an active volunteer in the AV industry’s trade association and served as chairman of InfoComm’s Professional Education & Training Committee (PETC), chairman of the ICIA Design School Committee and chairman of InfoComm’s Installation School Committee. In addition, he has served on the InfoComm board of governors. He also helped grow the InfoComm Projection Shoot-Out as the premiere AV industry trade show special event serving on the committee from 1991 through 1997, and was instrumental in launching the Shoot-Out in the European market at the Photokina Expo in 1994 and 1996 as well as the Asian market at the 1995 and 1997 INFOCOMM Asia shows.   Prior to founding his own company, Gary was vice president of sales and marketing for AMX Corporation (www.amx.com), a manufacturer specializing in professional AV and residential AV control systems. Prior to AMX, Gary spent nine years at Extron Electronics (www.extron.com), rising to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 from the University of North Carolina and is currently Adjunct Faculty at UNC in the School of Journalism teaching a class on how future technologies will affect the future of advertising, PR and marketing.   He is also the founder of Swim for Smiles, a non-profit that raises money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital through swimming and other fitness-related events for kids. You can contact him at gary@ravepubs.com..

  • Terry Morton

    Now that CEDIA doesn’t own their trade show anymore, and all the other association changes, it makes more sense than ever to have a huge mega-show, sort of a US version of the ISE. Think of all the vendors who spend staggering amounts to participate in all these separate shows, when technology is rolling into one big ball. I would love to see a show whether in Vegas or Orlando, that went on for a week and gave us both the time to walk the floors -and- take the courses.