There is nothing more energetic or vibrant than what you find associated with a technology start-up, unless of course you have eighteen of then all in one spot. This year InfoComm hosts the third edition of the Innovation Showcase and placed it in a primo location to highlight how strongly they feel about the need for the AV industry to nurture its young (see more on this here).
The 18 candidates are selected from a large group of entrants based on their; connection to the industry, product viability and yes, the Coolness factor. Once selected InfoComm groups all the candidates into the showcase and greatly discounts the cost associated with showing which include kiosk space, internet access, power, carpet, chairs and the most import feature of all — the common area with a big coffee pot (I requested free beer for everyone, but was turned down — just shows not all great ideas are immediately recognized).
Votes for the favorite group are submitted on exit from the booth and tallied for the People’s Choice Award. Additionally, industry leaders (whose identity are kept secret until after judging) are selected as judges who determine the highly respected and creatively named Judge’s Award – just to keep it all fair and balanced you understand.
The entire area is setup to maximize the “incubator effect” and build on the comradery of entrepreneur sprit, including short sessions at the end of each day discussing topics such as funding your start-up, and maximizing your marketing. At the end of a long grueling week there will be two winners chosen, but in reality, they all win from the experience that will very likely kick start their new careers as entrepreneurs.