Joel’s InfoComm Observations Day 1: Coffee (or Lackthereof) and Phone Handles

I arrived at the show this morning on the first bus at 6 a.m. thinking that I could beat the lines at the Starbucks here at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Boy, was I wrong. There were 200 people in line for coffee when I got here, and I am not a patient man, particularly when it comes to coffee (ask anybody). So here it is 12:30 and I still haven’t had my coffee. But that is because this show has grown at a pace that makes the current volcano in Hawaii look positively sluggish. So, instead, despite my will and my cravings for caffeine, I have been productively touring the show.

First impressions:

  • The show has changed in both attendance and attitude, due to the emphasis on the end user attendance. See my recent article “InfoComm — a Wild Kingdom” for more information about my thoughts on this.
  • Collaboration boards, and huddle room equipment in general, are becoming commoditized. Everybody works at differentiating those products, but the differences become less consequential every year, especially as the software that actually gets used with them (as opposed to the software embedded in them) is mostly standardized cloud software such as WebEx and GoToMeeting.
  • Drones, drones, drones…
  • Alexa is everywhere, and I mean everywhere, and everybody is showing their equipment controlled by it. I haven’t seen an AI-controlled espresso machine yet, but that’s probably because I haven’t been to the North Hall yet.
  • Handles on smartphones — why? The rAVe PopSocket seems to be a big hit, but I have yet to discover the magic.
  • VR is hot, except with the people who insist that AR is everything, and will replace VR for most applications. However, VR is here, while most AR is still looking for a “hero device” that will drive it.

So nothing is constant but change, and this show is changing even faster than the logos in the Harman booth.

Stay tuned for more, as I tackle “The Rise of the MegaDistributors” and how it will affect our industry.