The Great InfoComm 2016 Experience – From A Personal Side

First this:

A record 1,000 exhibitors, including 211 new exhibitors, filled the Las Vegas Convention Center June 8-10 for InfoComm 2016, occupying 527,105 net square feet of exhibit and special events space — also a show record. Attendees registered for more than 12,000 seats at InfoComm University sessions throughout the week, more than double the number engaged in training and education in 2015. Approximately one-third more unique attendees took InfoComm University™ training at InfoComm than in the past. The spike in training interest was driven in part by the 2,620 seminar and workshop packages sold. InfoComm 2016 was the first time attendees could pay one price and take any of more than 100 courses during exhibition days.

All I have to say for this is – outstanding. Education is such a key for the industry that seeing this spike in training and education alone speaks volumes, and I said this to a good friend at InfoComm after the show was over as I congratulated him, and InfoComm the organization for a job well done.

Another year, another InfoComm – well actually for me, it’s much more than that. It all began in 1995 in Dallas, TX where the one thing I will always remember was that immense room with projectors and screens all in a line – otherwise known as the “Projection Shootout” (which of course is no more). I have been to numerous InfoComm shows as an attendee however InfoComm 2015 in Orlando was my first official experience as Press/Media with rAVe Publications, even though I had written on InfoComm the prior year and also introduced my Top 10 Disruptive Solutions at InfoComm 2014. Disruption seemed to be the true talking point then as the newer solutions in UCC cloud and on-prem began to truly take shape. My chosen disruptors were all in UCC that year, however in 2015 I branched out to include audio system (QSC and Powersoft), mobile app (Sennheiser), ideation concept (newcomer Nureva) and more including UCC. I even chose a partnership as a part of the top 10 and a reveal for this year’s – another type of partnership was chosen. In fact I’ve gone even further outside of these realms to find solutions this year.

I had however questioned disruption as the theme this year and asked a certain manufacturer (who incidentally made my top 10) to suggest some “replacement terms.” After looking over every suggestion I had to come back to the original term as the one that stood front and center when pointing out certain solutions that I felt had that impact. OK, so all may not agree or say I left out one or the other and that’s all fine, however my list goes according to certain solutions and even messages that I consider disruptive, or should I say an innovative add in terms of the industry integrators’ portfolio and perspective. There were many exceptional solutions at the show, some that I only either heard about or saw on the many video interviews and writeups put together by rAVe and others. I received many press releases as well and tried to do as many booth visits as I could. And yes, ten of these visits are included in my Top Disruptors at the show.

I was unfortunately not able to attend all of the new additions to the show (yes, beer garden next year) however I did manage to get a photo passing by the AV Arcade where one could test their skills, sense and knowledge against the InfoComm pros:

AV Arcade 2

Super Tuesday was all about the Internet of Things for me as I spent the day at the Westgate Hotel listening to the presentations which began with one given by whom I consider one of the experts in the fields of IoT, Cloud Computing, Big Data and Cybersecurity Gary Hall, Chief Technology Officer – Federal Defense of Cisco, who was joined by Andrew Milne, CEO at Tidebreak, a global leader in providing interactive workspace technologies for academic institutions and corporate enterprises. An excellent morning presentation which will be followed up shortly by an interview with both of them. The day continued with enlightening conversation and information on IoT and the outlook in the AV industry.

Is the AV industry ready for a full-on IoT approach to the commercial enterprise business and education markets? Companies like Crestron, Samsung, Cisco along with some of the exhibitors and presenters at the Internet of Things Pavilion will likely tell us yes, and I have my thoughts which were discussed along with Bill Nattress of Biamp (who is a member of the InfoComm IoT Advisory Committee along with Gary Hall, Andrew Milne, Dan Jackson of Crestron and others) on rAVe Radio’s the Trade Show Minute Episode 26 podcast at the show.

Speaking of a super Tuesday, it ended with the InfoComm Awards Ceremony as those selected in categories were presented their awards, and the keynote presentation provided by Freakonomics Radio Host and Author Stephen J. Dubner (about unnaturally raised turkeys – yep, you just had to be there) ended the day with what I considered to be one of the best punchlines I have ever heard to close any speech.

Dubner Keynote

On Thursday morning was a special event which I attended for the second year in a row, the Women of InfoComm Network (WIN) Breakfast. This year’s breakfast was kicked off again by Betsy Jaffe of InfoComm, and then WIN Chair Penny Sitler opened the ceremonies with an outstanding, as well as very moving speech. This was followed by a terrific keynote presented by Julie Silard Kantor, CEO of TwoMentor, which included some very interesting interactive exercises which all attendees of the breakfast participated in.

Penny WIN

Penny Sitler of Draper Inc. presenting at the WIN Breakfast

And talking about podcasts:

I have been podcasting in the audio visual industry for over a year and a half now as well as producing. AV Power Up, the show I host and produce on rAVe Radio (Christa Bender was our former show host in 2015) is comprised of seven Crew members who do the show along with guests, which can make a show of up to 10 people at times. Beginning in March 2015 with industry notables Chuck Espinoza, Christa Bender, Hope Roth, Johnny Mota, Stacy Kringlen and Jeremy Caldera we launched a podcast that talked tech, brought humor and just all around great conversation. In January 2016 Johnny, Stacy and I were joined by Katye McGregor Bennett, Victoria Barela, Justin Watts and Deron Pinchback.

Hope Roth hosts her own podcast The Floating Point on rAVe Radio which I also produce, an outstanding show on the topic that she lives and breathes – programming – where she is joined regularly by co-host Chris Tatton of HB Communications, another industry programmer. Here is Episode 4: InfoComm Special Podcast 2016 with guests Dan Jackson from Crestron and David Thorson from AVI-SPL.

Floating point InfoComm

As for AV Power Up, a two month long endeavor to put together a salute of sorts to my great current and former Crew members, as well as tremendous guests of the show from the very start culminated in what took place on Wednesday entitled “Friends of AVP.” I designated Victoria Barela as my producer for the show and I can only applaud the outstanding job that she did. Here it is with many industry people that you know and like a lot Episode 59: Friends of AVP at InfoComm 2016.

Chuck Jeremy AVP

One of the six guest segments of the “Friends of AVP” show with Chuck Espinoza, Jeremy Caldera, Alison Maxson, Bill Nattress and Lynn Nattress. 

Not to be satisfied with just one show, we put together another for the next day which included executives from major industry companies – this one entitled Episode 60: InfoComm 2016 Special – An AVP Discussion with Exhibitor Executives with guests from AVI-SPL, Crestron, Pexip, Logitech Video Collaboration, Barco and Polycom.

Friday was my day to walk around the show floor (Wednesday and Thursday were mostly spent in exhibitor meetings along with the podcasts) as well as spend some time in certain Pavilions (like the Innovations Showcase and Drones). I also conducted interviews with some of the Top 10 Disruptive Solutions exhibitors that day – that, and more to come this week.