Mobile at the Show – Then and Now

infocomm13-0613As I prepare to head to Orlando, with InfoComm 2013 now less than a week away, I look back at my last trip down to the show several years back. Back then, I traveled from New Jersey with my trusty Dell laptop and my Blackberry, my main mobile business tool. Of course to travel light while traversing the show floor, the laptop had to stay back at the hotel — for late (late) night catch-up, emailing, proposals and such. With my Blackberry I had gotten pretty quick on the keyboard, so I could send email and text fast while walking the floor as well as taking and making what seemed like 100 phone calls a day (yes, sales were up). As for note-taking that was done with pen and folio notepad — mobile multitasking at its best.

This year many will have mobile devices in hand at the show, I’ll be carrying my Samsung Galaxy 3 Android phone and my iPad. My Surface Pro will hang out back at the hotel for that late night work although it is possible that will come along too; it’s certainly light enough. For me all notes taken at the show, along with picture taking will be with the iPad. Emails? On the iPad and Android. Tweets? You guessed it. And if the need for a video conference arises at the show that can be done on the fly with a cloud conference on my iPad and even my Smartphone as well. Recognizing new heights of mobility, I can now travel light on the show floor while accomplishing everything I need to do with my tablet and Smartphone. And of course, there’s the show app that I’ll have downloaded on my iPad. Any files that I need (PowerPoints, Word Docs) I’ll be able to access through Microsoft Skydrive.

Considering current trends in mobility, many in the industry are looking at mobile technology as a game-changer in 2013. Numerous AV markets are focusing heavily on the mobile device as an extension of their technologies, the digital signage market being one of them, as well as one of the hottest sectors for overall advancements in technology integration. The future of digital signage as predicted by experts in the field is moving toward mobile interaction for customers to communicate between digital signage and their smartphones. In the commercial sector, businesses and educational institutions, which already rely on tablets and mobile devices for command and control of their AV integrated room solutions, as well as their IT infrastructure, will also utilize these devices to do the same for command and control of their digital signage.

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As the commercial world continues to adopt the BYOD platform as a direct means for communication and collaboration within their corporate or educational institutions, more enhanced on premise as well as (cloud) hosted solutions are rapidly entering the marketplace. High quality software solutions in videoconferencing are at the core of many solutions providers’ offerings, making full communication between the home office or college campus and remote employees and administrators on mobile devices seamless, as well as instantaneous. The growing need for unified communications and collaboration within corporate and educational organizations has sparked a trend in the industry for certain manufacturers and solutions providers to turn toward incorporating UC into their technology offerings. Microsoft Lync remains one of the most popular UC applications since its recent launch with Office 365 for business (which includes SharePoint collaboration and Office Suite 2013) and has continued to grow as a preferred software solution.  Numerous manufacturers and solutions providers will be demonstrating product integration with Lync and will be touting the mobility factor as well. There will be those present at the show who will be displaying their Lync integrated Collaboration systems. Existing Lync infrastructures will be able to seamlessly integrate with these technologies, while new on premise or cloud-hosted rollouts will still tie-in to these solutions very well.

So while consumers look for greater enhancements in mobile technology and the commercial world continuously expands the level of mobile communication and collaboration within organizations, the AV industry in turn will continue to embrace mobility along with BYOD and unified communication and collaboration with technologically enhanced offerings. Many of these solutions will be available for view at infoComm along with other dynamic technologies in AV and IT. As for me, a well-defined, lightweight mobility plan is one of the keys to enhancing the experience this year. And of course it fits in very well with one of the main themes of the show.