We are getting a deluge of new products announcements in the lead-up to InfoComm — the one's we are allowed to release are all here. It's a lot more than usual. Last year, prior to InfoComm, I noticed a significant uptick in new product launches over the previous decade of pre-InfoComm news. I didn't know it then, but hindsight is, as they say, 20/20. By the time InfoComm was done, we'd had more new product launches than we'd had since the recession of 2008. And, as we look back over the last 12 to 18 months, it's clear that no one is holding back on R&D spending or engineering. And, this makes sense. After the 2008 recession, companies — including yours truly — were being conservative in spending on the unknowns — the risks. We were all willing to spend, but less so on things we weren't sure were going to produce a clear ROI. So, amping up sales to or even an uptick in marketing-spend was less of a risk than developing something that had never been done before.
The result of that conservative product development philosophy meant that from 2008-2017 we saw very little true creative innovation. Certainly things like Audinate's Dante, Barco's ClickShare, Nureva's Span and Zoom's cloud-based videoconferencing come to mind as game-changing innovation. But, outside of those, let's face it, it was a decade of me too-like product rollouts.
But, with ISE 2018 and then InfoComm 2018, I noticed a lot of new — like, totally new — product concepts emerging. The collaboration board, thin-client digital signage, cloud-based control, the explosion of creative AV-over-IP products, Sony's CLED, LG's Transparent OLED and Wallpaper OLED, Epson's LightScene, LightForm, 0.7 and 0.9mm LED, Intel's Unite Platform, Samsung's Flip, Logitech's new TAP, NEC's ALP, UC Workspace's QuickLaunch and Christie's MicroTiles LED are just a dozen that come to mind that are potential game-changers for varying segments of the AV market. And, I could keep going on with major innovations in creativity from QSC, ClearOne, Extron (its NAV AV-over-IP allows you to dial-in the bandwidth you want to use from H.264 to 10G and everything in-between), Aurora (a 24-port PoE switch may not seem like much, but, you'll soon see it is), Shure, Sennheiser, Peerless-AV, Vaddio and on and on and on. When all was said and done, 2018 was a giant year of innovation all-around. Dare I say more than the past 10 years combines? ABSOLUTELY!
But, wait til you see InfoComm 2019. I am being bombarded with embargoed stories about innovation and creativity that's more exciting than any show I've looked forward to since, well, I was at Extron and we debuted the RGB-109. It's possible you don't have a clue what I mean, but it was our "this is the iPod and it's going to change music forever" kind of moment. InfoComm 2019 could very well be AVIXA's (and the entire commerical AV industry's) "this is the iPhone, and it's going to change the mobile phone market forever" moment.
Hey, thanks for reading this and please, if you're going to InfoComm, don't just connect with me on LinkedIn but use our registration code to get in for free and come by our booth — you can't miss us as we're in the lobby — and get a free t-shirt for doing so!
Oh, and enjoy this issue as there are over 35 new products in this issue and some darn-good (Twin Peaks reference) columns too!