After a year and a half of living on video calls and turning guest bedrooms into home offices, signs of a return to pre-pandemic working life are finally upon us. With InfoComm 2021 approaching, many have chosen to make the pilgrimage to Orlando to learn about the latest AV technology, trends, and of course, connect with other industry members, something we have all missed out on during the pandemic. Even with some choosing to skip out on this year’s event due to safety concerns, travel issues or budget restrictions, many industry members have made the decision to attend. We spoke to some of them about why they are attending, how they are approaching COVID-19 and what they are most excited about this year.
Why are you attending InfoComm 2021?
I’m excited to see all of the creativity and innovation showcased at InfoComm this year. The pandemic has led the AV industry to new levels of innovation as everyone works to adapt to new trends and meet customers’ needs. Businesses in hospitality, retail, corporate, transit and beyond are opting to add, or even replace, current solutions with new technology to better communicate with their customers, and I am looking forward to seeing how this translates across products. — Megan Zeller, Business Development Director, Peerless-AV
A large reason is that InfoComm 2021 is in my city. As the show is occurring in Orlando, the cost in both time and money are very low. Additionally, having been laid off by my previous job and starting a new consulting firm as a result of COVID-19, this show is the first time I will see many people in person to talk about the changes. — Bradford Benn, Founder, Advisist Group, LLC
Trade shows play an important role in our industry, and many of our most important relationships are forged at events like InfoComm. The professional audiovisual industry is comprised of the world’s finest experts in bringing people together, and we believe strongly that business is done best in person. Though the timing is not right for a large-scale Crestron exhibition at this year’s show, we still want to be present and productive with our industry peers at the show. — Brad Hintze, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Crestron
As the account manager for Control Concepts, it is vital for me to keep up with the latest offerings by manufacturers in the AV space. A large show like InfoComm allows me to see many manufacturers all in one place in a short period of time. It also allows me to meet my peers and catch up with my AVbesties. —Tammy Fuqua, Account Manager, Control Concepts, Inc.
I am teaching CTS Prep over the weekend prior to the trade show. I am attending the show in hopes of seeing new products. However, with the limited number of exhibitors and products being unavailable, I don’t anticipate many new products or technologies. — Jeremy Caldera, Partner, BNCO Consulting and Senior Vice President, Pearl Technology
Did you have any hesitations about attending and will you be approaching or participating in the show differently due to COVID-19?
I have and will continue to take the precautions available to me during this time. Masking up and staying at a safe distance during workshops and on the show floor are my plans. — Alexis La Broi, Director of Sales, Mid-Atlantic, Production Resource Group
Yes, of course, especially in Florida. Even though I am vaccinated, I will take a COVID test when I get home. I will, of course, be wearing a mask and using a ton of hand sanitizer. — Amanda Eberle Boyer, General Manager, AV Chicago
I do not have any hesitations about attending. Since September 2020, I have been traveling for business and have adopted new safety measures when traveling, including mask-wearing, social distancing and no handshakes. — Megan Zeller, Director of Business Development, Peerless-AV
Not really. In all honesty, I have been over the whole pandemic thing for quite a while now. Especially now that vaccines are readily available, my hope is for a return to normalcy sooner than later. My only hesitation to not attend revolves around the requirement to wear a mask (which I am not a fan of but will gladly do) and the requirement to show a vaccine card. Even though I am vaccinated, I feel the card requirement is an extreme violation of my personal medical health records, and this one point makes me not want to attend the show. Due to the lack of exhibitors, I have also elected not to bring any of our sales or engineering team this year and will attend solo. — Jeremy Caldera, Partner, BNCO Consulting and Senior Vice President, Pearl Technology
Yes, of course. With any event, there are considerations. However, with InfoComm, I treat it differently. It’s the one time of year that MOST in the ProAV industry gather, and I have been a part of it for over 15+ years. I will take all necessary precautions to keep myself, my employees and attendees safe. — Patty Wanzer, President, Synigize, LLC
What are you most excited about at this year’s show?
I’m looking forward to networking and viewing new technology advancements, especially in AI and VR/AR type applications. Interested to see what the new panel (LCD/OLED) advances are as well (i.e.: flexible, etc.). I’m also curious how much new tech will be there with most of the foreign (especially Asian) participants scaling back or backing out altogether. — Malik Khan, Senior Vice President, Operations, ANC
I am most interested in seeing the new video transport solutions. Not for conference rooms but for large campuses such as theme parks. I want to see the latency as well as the image quality. There are many new players in the market so it is important to see the options. That also applies to projectors. I am very interested in lower-cost laser engine projectors. If you notice, both of these are items that one cannot study online as easily; compression makes everything difficult. — Bradford Benn, Owner, Advisist Group, LLC
I plan to make the most of my time on the show floor, seeing the technology that has allowed us to continue to meet virtually during the past several months (cameras, streaming tech, and audio). I am also really excited to meet with industry friends and colleagues again this year. — Alexis La Broi, Director of Sales, Mid-Atlantic, Production Resource Group
Crestron is very excited to see what our peers and partners are working on with regard to meeting management, both in terms of how collaborative spaces are equipped and maintained as well as how collaboration itself is best facilitated. Hybrid work is becoming the primary workplace format, so optimizing dispersed collaboration is a massive priority for our industry. — Brad Hintze, EVP of Marketing, Crestron
I am looking forward to the Live Events Council Forum and Reception, as it is important for me to hear what other companies are doing and how they are evolving in our new reality. Also, I can’t wait for the Women’s Breakfast and the Diversity reception. — Amanda Eberle Boyer, General Manager, AV Chicago
All of it! Seeing friends has me the most excited about attending. While I did attend CEDIA last month, more of my connections are on the commercial side. I have not seen many of them for nearly two years. And of course, connecting with manufacturers is my main objective to attending. Over the years, I have become somewhat of a tech geek, particularly anything in the visual space, which makes it fun to walk the floor. I am most interested in seeing the latest and greatest in video walls, projection and displays. The one event I am looking forward to most is the AVIXA Women’s Council Breakfast. As a co-leader to the LA/OC area, I cannot wait to see the women in our group as well as meet women from other groups. —Tammy Fuqua, Account Manager, Control Concepts, Inc.
I am excited to see anything at this point when it comes to new technologies and products, but I do not have much optimism around that. Mostly, I am excited and interested in networking with my peers as that is always the most beneficial part of the show for me. — Jeremy Caldera, Partner, BNCO Consulting and Senior Vice President, Pearl Technology
I am most interested in having good dialog to exchange information and to listen to the needs in the AV industry. I want to hear thoughts, feedback, and new product developments….and I want to help provide some of those solutions through Aurora Multimedia (booth 2201) with their three new product announcements. I want to network and see people f2f after meeting them through Zoom/Twitter and the like. I also look forward to participating in the AVIXA Diversity Committee, #AVraoke, #AVNationTV tweetup, seeing #HETMA folks and gathering with many others to further inclusion in our industry. — Patty Wanzer, President, Synigize, llc