InfoComm: I’m Lovin’ It!

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By Gary Kayye, CTS

infocomm-10-logo-0510I cannot tell you how excited I am about this year’s InfoComm show!

Held every summer, InfoComm, as I hope you all know, is the ProAV industry’s premiere trade event (I use that term intentionally as trade show doesn’t do it justice — it’s really, truly an event) that anyone and everyone involved in the market should attend.  Not only is it a tradeshow, but it’s also packed with expert-led educational sessions, hands-on workshops and even manufacturer-led training – oh, and did I mention parties?!?

But, what I am REALLY excited about is that I am in the lucky position of having relationships with projector, flat-screen display, signal routing, videoconferencing and a handful of other technologies – and many of them have told me what their InfoComm new product plans are.  And, all I can say is WOW!

Wow, why?

Well, for the past four years, although there have been some really cool products that have been launched at InfoComm, few have been ground breaking.  Most have been me-too or next generation.  Sure, we’ve gone from having 4”-deep LCDs to 1.5-inch deep, we’ve gone from 2” bezels to near bezel-less, and we’ve gone from SD to HD conferencing — or should I say videoconferencing that didn’t work to stuff that DOES now work — and control systems that required weeks of training to program to configurable systems that that just about anyone can learn to program in a day.

showfloor-0510But in my opinion, it was mostly through incremental steps of improvement.

But, InfoComm 2010 will be the holy grail of InfoComms.  It’s shaping up to be one of the best ever in many, many ways.  You’ll see some major product innovation right before your very eyes.  You’ll see new display technologies you couldn’t have imagined a few years ago and we’ll see the dawn of the networked-AV era become prime time!

But, as I’ve said many, many times before, don’t go to InfoComm just for the tradeshow!  Go take advantage of all the educational opportunities that you’ll be presented with.  Don’t plan your InfoComm experience backwards.  Most people attending InfoComm plan their show experience around the exhibits and their ability to peruse the show floor and see all the manufacturers they need to see.  Then, depending on the appoints they make and the meetings they attend in the booth, they determine the left over time slots for taking in a course or two through InfoComm’s extensive show educational offerings.

That’s exactly opposite of what you should be doing.

infocomm-class-0510What I think you should do is immediately (after you finish reading this column, of course), go to the InfoComm educational section of their web site and pick educational courses relevant to your interest and expertise, plan to attend them all and then with the time you have left, visit booths, attend parties and meetings.  You can see them all listed here:

Education in our market is crucial.  The first time an LCD projector was ever shown to the ProAV market was in a class at COMTEX (the name of InfoComm prior to becoming InfoComm); the first time the concept for a DLP projector was explained to AV geeks was at a seminar at InfoComm.  And, the first time a networked-AV system was demonstrated was in a seminar at InfoComm.  Likewise, the very first time HD-videoconferencing was shown publically was — you guessed it — a seminar at InfoComm!  Sure, these technologies and trends eventually hit the floor, but the time and attention given attendees of a seminar by the instructor far exceeds the time given to a question on the typical show floor booth.  And, by the way, while the industry’s marketing gurus from each exhibiting manufacturer hangs out with PR kits in their respective booth, the engineering departments’ “geeks” are teaching technology at a seminar down the hall.

Reprinted with permission from Sound & Communications. Founded in 1955, Sound & Communications is the premiere magazine for AV systems integrators, contractors and consultants. To subscribe or read sample articles, go to