InfoComm 2021 Memorable Moments

InfoComm 2021 Memorable Moments

Last week, #AVtweeps gathered for InfoComm 2021 in Orlando, Florida. For many, it was the first time they had seen this many of their peers in the same room since ISE 2020 in Amsterdam. We asked AV professionals to share their favorite show memories. Here’s what they had to say!

What was your favorite part of InfoComm 2021?

Alesia Hendley, Business Development Representative, Audinate

My favorite part of InfoComm 2021 was the after-hour events with friends and partners. Almo’s event felt kind of like an opening reception and really showed us just how many people were in Orlando for the show. The AtlasIED event was another event that took things to the next level of networking and fun! I was able to reconnect and meet so many new faces at this event. AMAZING job to both hosts of these events! Epic.

Brandy Alvarado-Miranda, CEO/Owner, BAM! Marketing & PR Agency

The best part of InfoComm for me was our annual AVIXA Women’s Council Breakfast. I finally got to meet my inspiration, Sara Potecha, in person. Sara’s keynote at our breakfast gave me, and everyone who attended, hope and inspiration to “press on.” As one of the first women cadets to graduate West Point Military Academy, she shared the challenges she faced and also her press on methodology for dealing with those struggles. We were all so inspired after leaving the breakfast!

Sara Potecha signs copies of her book West Point Woman and chats with an AVIXA Womens Council Breakfast attendee

Sara Potecha signs copies of her book, “West Point Woman”, and chats with an AVIXA Women’s Council Breakfast attendee at InfoComm 2021.

 

Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I, Senior Vice President, Pearl Technology

My favorite part of InfoComm 2021 was networking with friends and colleagues. Additionally, I really enjoyed being able to spend more time with manufacturers that I may or may not have time to meet with during the larger shows similar to two years ago.

AVNation Tweetup at InfoComm 2021

Jeremy Caldera takes an #AVSelfie with friends at the Tweetup during InfoComm 2021.

 

John Henkel, ProAV Product Marketing Manager, NETGEAR

My favorite part was seeing my old friends and meeting all the new ones I’ve made since the last InfoComm in 2019. There are so many #AVtweeps I have never met (and some I still didn’t get to meet!), and it was a joy spending time with all of them.

James King, Member, HETMA

It is hard to come up with just one favorite part of InfoComm 2021! First, I really enjoyed getting to meet people in person. I never imagined joining Twitter and following #AVtweeps would link me to many outstanding AV folks from all different areas. I felt like I’ve known many of these professionals for years but finally got to meet them face-to-face at the show. Another highlight for me was the education sessions. I am always learning and felt there were many educational events I wanted to attend. It was nice to see sessions covering security, as I feel security is important when it comes to our AV equipment.

Alesia Hendley, Gina Sansivero, Charmaine Torruella and James King in the AtlasIED booth at InfoComm 2021

Alesia Hendley, Gina Sansivero, Charmaine Torruella and James King in the AtlasIED booth at InfoComm 2021.

Steph Beckett, Managing Editor, rAVe [PUBS]
My favorite part of InfoComm 2021 was getting to meet so many #AVtweeps I’ve become acquainted with during my time at rAVe in person for the first time!
L to R: Tim Albright, Steph Beckett, Megan A. Dutta, Jeremy Caldera and Chuck Espinoza at a networking dinner during InfoComm 2021.

L to R: Tim Albright, Steph Beckett, Megan A. Dutta, Jeremy Caldera and Chuck Espinoza at a networking dinner during InfoComm 2021.

 

Megan Zeller, Director of Business Development, Peerless-AV

My favorite part of InfoComm was walking the show floor to see the newest technologies and, as always, connecting with customers, partners, fellow vendors and friends.

Jason Polk, Marketing Coordinator, Absen USA

Just being at InfoComm after the crazy 18 months was our favorite part.

Melody Craigmyle, Vice President of Marketing, Almo Pro A/V

InfoComm 2021 was a great reunion for the professionals in our industry. Reconnecting in person with our colleagues was so valuable — there was a genuine appreciation for the quality time we had together. And that’s what we’re going to remember the most!

For Almo, it was also the opportunity to celebrate our corporation’s 75th anniversary and to give back to the industry and the local community. As part of our anniversary, Almo is providing time, talent, products and dollars to 75 different organizations throughout 2021.

At InfoComm, we made a $4,075 donation to the AVIXA Michael Vergauwen Foundation program that awards scholarships to college students looking to pursue careers in AV. We also donated all the Hanover (Almo’s sister company) furniture in our booth to the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore outlet after the show.

Almo donated $4,075 to AVIXA's Michael Vergauwen Fund Scholarship.

Almo donated $4,075 to AVIXA’s Michael Vergauwen Fund Scholarship.

Charmaine Torruella, Global Services Manager, Verrex

My favorite part of InfoComm 2021 was being able to spend quality time speaking with people instead of rushing off to the next booth or session. I was able to talk more about strategy than anything else with people. I also had the pleasure of meeting people in the flesh that I only met via Zoom.

Charmaine Torruella and Flat Matt at InfoComm 2021

Charmaine Torruella and “Flat Matt” (a printed picture of OMEGA Audio Video’s Matt Scott who was unable to attend the show) at InfoComm 2021.

 

Bradford Benn, Chief Advisist, Advisist Group

The best part of InfoComm 2021 was that it was my first show as Advisist Group, LLC. I even got to hand out swag to people in person, which was much more enjoyable than dropping things in the mail and hoping. It was wonderful getting to see people I have not seen in over a year. I am very risk averse so I stayed sequestered doing interviews most of the time, but I did get to see lots of people who stopped by just to see me. Also, there was Tim Albright cooking buttercake at my house, as well as rescuing a Megan in distress on Wednesday morning.

Tim Albright baking buttercake ahead of InfoComm 2021.

Tim Albright baking buttercake ahead of InfoComm 2021.

Joe Way, Director of Learning Environments, University of Southern California and Chair, Higher Education Technology Managers Alliance (HETMA)

My favorite part of InfoComm is probably pretty cliché in saying that it was being back together with our people, but it truly was. I loved seeing my HETMA-member higher ed colleagues take over the show en masse — taking it all in and meeting up together after hours. This goes down as probably my favorite InfoComm so far.

Joe Way and HETMA members at dinner during InfoComm 2021

Joe Way and HETMA members at dinner during InfoComm 2021.

 

Kelly Perkins, CTS Marketing Manager, Hall Technologies

My favorite part of InfoComm 2021 was seeing friends in person — you just can’t get that type of energy over audio/video. It felt so great to reconnect with friends, partners and colleagues.

Cory Schaeffer, Director, Alliances & Ecosystem, QSC

This InfoComm was all about connecting with people in person. It’s amazing how good it felt seeing industry friends and getting reconnected.

Woman in AV dinner at InfoComm 2021

L to R: Tammy Fuqua, Cory Schaeffer, Brandy Alvarado-Miranda, Megan A. Dutta, Susan Wilhite, Charmaine Torruella, Gina Sansivero and Paige Flenniken at a women’s networking dinner during InfoComm 2021.

 

Effi Goldstein, Marketing Committee Chair, HDBaseT Alliance

PEOPLE! There is nothing like in-person interaction. I particularly enjoyed getting first-hand feedback from installers as to what new requirements they have faced with the new normal.

Steve Greenblatt, CTS, President, Control Concepts

My favorite part of InfoComm 2021 was reuniting with the AV community in person. There is no replacement for face-to-face interaction and the ability to have casual impromptu conversations that don’t lend themselves to video calls. The opportunity to gather in smaller, more intimate groups rather than large, overwhelming crowds promoted more in depth, quality conversations and true relationship building. This is a case where less was definitely more. I feel like I made built some connections that will exist for many years to come.

Patty K. Wanzer, CTS, President, Synigize

My favorite part of InfoComm was seeing all the #AVtweeps face to face for the first time in nearly two years! The AVNation Tweetup, AVIXA Diversity Council and the HETMA events were all well-received and well attended by many I only see online, so it was nice to see people in person.

Gary Kayye, Megan A. Dutta and Patty Wanzer at InfoComm 2021

Gary Kayye, Megan A. Dutta and Patty Wanzer take an AVSelfie at InfoComm 2021

What was the coolest technology you saw at InfoComm 2021?

Cory Schaeffer, Director, Alliances & Ecosystem, QSC

The rAVe [PUBS] Snapchat filters! I had so much fun with them.

Kelly Perkins, CTS Marketing Manager, Hall Technologies

I think our HIVE product is pretty cool — I’m biased though! I have yet to see a cloud-based driverless control system like ours, at least in the AV space. Shameless self-promotion, I know.

Gary Kayye, Founder, rAVe [PUBS]

There were SO many new technologies on the show floor and I TRULY enjoyed seeing all of it. You’ll see more of my personal favorites at rAVe’s rePLAY event, but some of my highlights included Absen’s XR Studio and FreeAxez’ Floor Grid Power and Cable Management System for Facility Managers.

Charmaine Torruella, Global Services Manager, Verrex

One of the coolest things I saw was Lightware’s Taurus UCX all-in-one box for USB switches with HDMI switching, charging, control and audio.

Effi Goldstein, Marketing Committee Chair, HDBaseT Alliance

I enjoyed seeing various solutions for hybrid video conferencing supporting in-room and remote participants in an optimal manner—especially ones featuring an easy plug-and-play interface for BYOD. Noticeable solutions include the Wyrestorm Apollo series and Key Digital’s Conference Room in a Box.

Steve Greenblatt, CTS, President, Control Concepts

I felt that the emphasis for the show was not on technology, but more on the value of people and relationships. Companies who were present and had product to show got a leg up on their competition and likely opened the eyes and minds of potential clients to new ideas.

Megan Zeller, Director of Business Development, Peerless-AV

Direct view led technology (dvLED) has been the coolest technology featured at this year’s InfoComm. As dvLED becomes more affordable, we’ve seen a change in how dvLED technology can be used to aid/amplify customer experience. There is such a diversity of dvLED and how it can be integrated into different settings, and I look forward to seeing how manufacturers will adapt to the trend.

Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I, Senior Vice President, Pearl Technology

I was a big fan of the eGlass technology for educational instruction and some of the new wireless presentation and conferencing products.

Patty K. Wanzer, CTS, President, Synigize

The coolest technology was in Aurora Multimedia’s booth with the IPX-UC1 ULTRA — the most advanced unified communication IP Streaming solution on the market. It has the ability to stream 10G, 1G and 10/100 at the same time in both directions; this is a very brief summary of the 12 products in just one box!

John Henkel, ProAV Product Marketing Manager, NETGEAR

Well, the coolest tech was the NETGEAR M4250 AV Line of switches for AV-over-IP, of course! Seriously, I was so busy that I didn’t even walk the show floor to look for new, cool technology.

John Henkel takes an AVSelfie in the NETGEAR booth at InfoComm.

John Henkel takes an AVSelfie in the NETGEAR booth at InfoComm.

 

See related  My First InfoComm

Joe Way, Director of Learning Environments, University of Southern California and Chair, Higher Education Technology Managers Alliance (HETMA)

There were a lot of great technologies demonstrated this year. I’d have to say that getting the opportunity to visit all the smaller booths that would have normally gotten buried along the back was great. But a few things stick out to me — the spatial audio demo at L-Acoustics, the eGlass teaching solution and Absen’s video wall. But really, there were so many great technologies throughout the show floor. Oh, and of course, the bubble machine!

Steph Beckett, Managing Editor, rAVe [PUBS]

There was a lot of tech that uses extended reality (XR) in creative ways to help integrators do their jobs. Gridd and Modus VR were two that are doing this, and I’m excited to see how that trend continues in the next few years.

Melody Craigmyle, Vice President of Marketing, Almo Pro A/V

I definitely had my eye on Absen’s new Clear Cobalt Micro LED.

Alesia Hendley, Business Development Representative, Audinate
Of course, the coolest products were in the Audinate booth! Outside of that, the coolest technology I saw was from Intel. The flexibility of Intel Unite was extremely impressive and it’s a TRUE collaboration tool.

Bradford Benn, Chief Advisist, Advisist Group

I was lucky to find the Viewsonic IFP6550 Touchboard that can be placed horizontally with a 4K display and pixel accurate touch screen; I have been looking for a solution like this for a couple of years to help with drawing reviews and markups. I think that this piece can not only be a good collaboration piece for meetings –both on- and offline –it will also be a good tool for daily use as a tool with Bluebeam, Adobe and other markup tools. Previously having used smaller touchscreens with styli to markup drawings and documents, this tool definitely is an improvement.

The other thing that I will not say was the coolest technology, but an emerging trend is specialized tools, software, and interfaces — as I say, pieces that were not revolutionary, but specialized. Two examples are Jetbuilt, which I am currently taking for a test-driving, and eGlass. All of the technology that they are using has been around for a while, but it is the packaging to create a better user experience that made the items so interesting.

I would also be remiss to leave out Forward Thinking Designs’ Trace, a calibration plugin for QSC Q-SYS systems using Rational Acoustics’ Smaart — that was the only thing I specifically went in search of to get more information out at the show.

Brandy Alvarado-Miranda, CEO/Owner, BAM! Marketing & PR Agency

I think for me, seeing Hall Technologies’ HIVE Control system was the best! Their HIVE system is the first cloud-based, driverless control system. Such a cool innovation from their team!

What was your most memorable experience at InfoComm 2021?

Cory Schaeffer, Director, Alliances & Ecosystem, QSC

The AVIXA Women’s Council Breakfast — it was so wonderful to see my dear friend Brandy Alvarado-Miranda being recognized for her work as the AVIXA Women’s Council Chair. She has put so much work into growing local groups and uplifting other women, and seeing her recognized was heartwarming. The day just got better and better. Next up was the Diversity Council Luncheon, where Charmaine Torruella was recognized for all of her work as the Diversity Council Chair. Then, the AVIXA Awards happened. Seeing so many women receiving awards was the best part of the show: Brandy Alvardo-Miranda receiving the Women in AV award, Jennifer Goodyer and Kelly Perkins receiving CTS Holder of the Year, Chrissy Sara receiving Educator of the Year, Kristi R-C receiving Volunteer of the Year and Mel Baglio receiving the Young AV Professional Award. It was wonderful seeing so many women recognized. My hope is that we see this continue!

Cory Schaeffer wins the Adele De Berri Pioneers of AV Award at InfoComm 2021.

Cory Schaeffer accepts the Adele De Berri Pioneers of AV Award at InfoComm 2021.

 

Melody Craigmyle, Vice President of Marketing, Almo Pro A/V

Definitely Almo’s pre-InfoComm 75th celebration event at SeaWorld — watching the excitement as our vendor partners, integrators, consultants, end users, rep firms and media partners reunited was priceless.

Also, the openness of the Almo booth turned out to be a great experience. Instead of being tucked away in meeting rooms, we were accessible and in a space filled with beautiful, comfortable furniture to enjoy. This environment allowed for creative, idea-generating conversations.

John Henkel, ProAV Product Marketing Manager, NETGEAR

The most memorable experience for me was trying to recognize people I actually knew from just their eyes because of the masks! Oh, and the fact that I realize how out of tradeshow shape I am! Talking to people all day long and walking all over is TIRING … but I can’t wait to do it again at InfoComm 2022 in Las Vegas.

Effi Goldstein, Marketing Committee Chair, HDBaseT Alliance

One of the show highlights was scoring 16 points at AtlasIED’s networking event. It was my first try at TopGolf! I really enjoyed socializing with people I usually just exchange emails with.

Alesia Hendley, Business Development Representative, Audinate

My most memorable experience was having fireside drinks with Charmaine Torruella, Alexis La Broi and Rachael Harris; I admire these women, and this was the first time we were all able to have an in-person meet-up since we’ve all connected! I was also able to meet some of my new teammates from Audinate in person. Being able to hang with the guys, learn more about them, our technology and enjoy some great food was a major InfoComm 2021 highlight for me.

Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I, Senior Vice President, Pearl Technology

For me, the most memorable part was teaching the CTS prep class and having so many of our students come up and thank us [Caldera taught the class with AVIXA’s Chuck Espinoza] after passing their exam at the show. The joy you could see in the way they smiled and walked, having achieved a milestone in their career, was inspirational.

Jeremy Caldera teaches a class at InfoComm 2021

Jeremy Caldera teaching a class at InfoComm 2021

 

Joe Way, Director of Learning Environments, University of Southern California and Chair, Higher Education Technology Managers Alliance (HETMA)

My most memorable experience was definitely the HETMA Recognition Banquet. To see the organization come together in unity in the midst of all the pandemic chaos was incredible. Having the opportunity to announce the Prism Scholarship program in partnership with AVIXA that will offer ten educational scholarships, professional mentoring and trips to InfoComm in support of our DEI initiative made my year. Real lives will be changed through this program, with higher ed taking the lead in investing in our underrepresented people groups. Even with the event happening on Friday afternoon, there was still the same energy as if it took place on Tuesday at the ribbon-cutting.

L to R: Joe Way, Joé Lloyd and Davis Labuskes announcing the HETMA Prism Scholarship program at InfoComm 2021.

L to R: Joe Way, Joé Lloyd and Davis Labuskes announcing the HETMA Prism Scholarship program at InfoComm 2021.

 

Brandy Alvarado-Miranda, CEO/Owner, BAM! Marketing & PR Agency

Being awarded the Women in AV Award was seriously surreal. And even more incredible than that — six out of the 10 award winners were women! That, to me, shows the real progress we’re making on the Women’s and Diversity Councils. I’m humbled and honored to receive the award and to have served as the chair for the last three years.

Brandy Alvarado Miranda accepts the Women in AV Award at InfoComm 2021

Brandy Alvarado Miranda accepts the Women in AV Award at InfoComm 2021.

Megan Zeller, Director of Business Development, Peerless-AV

My most memorable experience was speaking on the “Trend Forecast: Digital Signage” session with other industry professionals on InfoComm’s Technology Innovation Stage. I loved being able to share my insight and thoughts on technology’s latest advancements with other attendees. I’ll also never forget Brian McClimans and I making Earl Naegele touch stingrays during the Almo 75th anniversary event at Sea World — such a fun experience!

Peerless-AV's Megan Zeller on the InfoComm 2021 Technology Innovation Stage.

Peerless-AV’s Megan Zeller on the InfoComm 2021 Technology Innovation Stage.

 

James King, Member, HETMA

While attending an event, Mike Krejci came up to me to introduce himself to me. This was because he was a fan of “Ask The Programmer,” a podcast that Steve Greenblatt and I host. This was memorable because Steve and I felt like there was a need for this type of podcast, but I never expected someone to come up to me as a fan of the show! Another memorable experience that sticks out to me was two speeches during the AVIXA Technology Manager Forum. Erin Maher-Moran and Joe Way both spoke, and their messages hit home with me while also providing words of wisdom.

Bradford Benn, Chief Advisist, Advisist Group

For me, it was the debut of Flat Matt. While I cannot take credit for the idea, I very quickly embraced it. I also realized how long it has been since I dressed up in suit and tie. In the pocket of one of my jackets were items from a lecture I attended in November of 2019. It was comforting and odd to put on the “battle armor” for a tradeshow again, for the first time in years. I do think my favorite part was my formal clothes still fitting. I was very sad when it fully hit me that the people we lost in the past two years would not be there. I knew they had passed. I still thought about reaching out to catch up with them at the show. That was the part that made me need to take a break on Tuesday.

Jason Polk, Marketing Coordinator, Absen USA

Having ice cream at the Almo booth both satisfied a sweet experience and allowed us to continue to grow the relationship between Absen and Almo.

Charmaine Torruella, Global Services Manager, Verrex

There were two moments that really stick out to me. First, being recognized by the Diversity Council for my chairship from 2018 – 2021. Sara Joyce of AVIXA and my dear friend Alexis La Broi had some powerful words for me which almost brought me to tears. Thank you for those words! The second highlight for me was Almo’s 75th Anniversary Celebration at SeaWorld. Not only did I see a lot of friends and associates, I saw women in feathers on stilts, flamingos, owls, sloths and stingrays. That was a great, colorful night!

Charmaine Torruella was recognized for her work with the AVIXA Diversity Council at InfoComm 2021

Charmaine Torruella was recognized for her work with the AVIXA Diversity Council at InfoComm 2021.

 

Patty K. Wanzer, CTS, President, Synigize

My most memorable moment was when the Aurora team went to Pointe Orlando for dinner and went to check out the new Orlando Starflyer afterward. We all pondered the idea of a ride, watched and watched and watched. After watching it multiple times, we all decided to ride it; we loved it, and there was lots of laughter and hollering!

Steve Greenblatt, CTS, President, Control Concepts

I was amazed to connect with so many people who I had not previously met in person or with whom I did not have the opportunity to share quality time prior to this event. What I was reminded was that reputation really matters and the impression you make through social media, content and knowledge sharing, offering support or by genuinely helping others really matters and is truly appreciated. It was very rewarding both personally and professionally and reminds me of the greatness of the AV community.

Kelly Perkins, CTS Marketing Manager, Hall Technologies

My favorite moment was getting the chance to meet my team in person. I haven’t had colleagues in a long time, so for me, meeting several members of the Hall Technologies team — who just happen to be really smart and cool — was the highlight of the show.

Hall Technologies Team Dinner at InfoComm 2021

Some of the Hall Technologies team at dinner during InfoComm 2021.

 

Steph Beckett, Managing Editor, rAVe [PUBS]

My most memorable experience was being recognized on the show floor. I got stopped multiple times by people asking if I was “that Study With Steph girl.” Or others who stopped me to tell me I’m good at my job. Or others to tell me that they love watching rAVe [TV] with Gary and me. I have plenty of imposter syndrome about being a journalist in the AV industry, and after InfoComm 2021, I no longer feel that way. These are my people, and this is my industry!

For more on InfoComm 2021, visit our InfoComm 2021 microsite.