InfoComm: Three Exceptional Days for Tech Managers

By Brad Grimes
InfoComm International

Three_150x150-0315That’s right. It’s time to start planning for June. More specifically, for InfoComm 2015 in Orlando and the exceptional experiences [VIDEO] you’ll enjoy. As you know, there will be about a zillion things you could do at InfoComm 2015. It’s really an all-week affair, when you take into account education, special events and the exhibits themselves.

So once again, we’re coming up with some cheat sheets. Just a few suggestions for InfoComm 2015 attendees based on what we think you might want to get out of the event.

Are you a tech manager? Start with the following menu and embellish as you see fit. Print it out and carry it with you (lamination optional).

But before I go any further, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that six (6) is more than three (3). It’s twice as much. Double. And this year at InfoComm 2015, tech managers stand to get twice as much goodness before the show opens through a new three-day class designed especially for tech managers. How to Effectively Manage AV Spaces and Staff, taught by John Arpino, CTS-D, Assistant Director for Engineering and Design at George Washington University, runs from Saturday, June 13, to Monday, June 15. It’s a mega-class, combining workshop-style collaboration, hands-on learning, panel discussions and more. Basically, you take this class and you’re ready to go back home and redefine the way you support your institution through AV and IT.

And then, after that…

Tuesday, June 16

8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Technology Management in Higher Education. As much as I’d love to recommend another awesome Tuesday program that I’ll be participating in — Future Trends —this one might be right up your alley. Yes, you may need to arrive in Orlando a day earlier than maybe you planned, but it’s worth it. Here are the topics you’ll be covering:

  • The Care and Feeding of a Great AV Staff
  • Flexspace: A Benchmarking Tool for Higher Education
  • Security Needs Analysis for Technology Managers
  • Applying Big Data to Technology Management
  • Beyond User Training: Faculty Engagement
  • Providing an Exceptional AV Experience [there’s that VIDEO again!]

2 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. First-Timer’s Orientation. Join InfoComm for quick overview of what’s to come and some insight on how to make the most of your experience. Meet up at the Orange County Convention Center, room W307C/D, and get your learn on.

4 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. Opening Keynote. This one is gonna be awesome. Nick Bilton, Lead Technology Writer and Reporter for The New York Times‘ Bits blog, will lead a discussion with industry experts about the Internet of Everything. “The Internet of What?” That’s right. Tech managers especially know the benefit of managing everything on a big network. Is anyone using that classroom? Those networked sensors can tell you. But what are the ramifications of putting everything on the network? Find out in the Convention Center’s Chapin Theater.

5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. Opening Reception. Because there will be food and drink and camaraderie with colleagues. And because it’s included with your registration. Compare schedules for the coming week and see who changed their hair since last InfoComm.

7 p.m. – 10 p.m. InfoComm Awards Dinner. If you’re not too exhausted by now, this is the event where InfoComm recognizes industry pioneers, great volunteers, top educators, women in AV, up-and-comers and more. It’s a fantastic event in room W415A of the Convention Center. Tickets are required. Get in touch to learn more.

Wednesday, June 17

9 a.m. The show floor opens. It could be a long day, so maybe a quick reconnaissance tour is in order so you can plot your plan of attack later in the day and week. There will be an exclusive tour for InfoComm members only an hour prior (8.a.m.). Looks like you’ll be meeting at the InfoComm Store (there’s a modest charge for this special tour).

(Editor’s note: Wednesday morning is  a kid-in-a-candy-shop-type morning. In addition to everything else, for example, Pete Putman, CTS, will be teaching about ultra high-definition TV at 8 a.m., you can get the scoop on HDBaseT at 10:30 a.m., learn about AV in an IT world, also at 10:30, etc., etc. Point being, there’s a lot to choose from. That said…)

10:30 a.m. – 12 noon. Upgrading the AV Support Model. Ernie Bailey, CTS, Manager of Classroom Technologies at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, talks you through building up your staff’s AV chops while at the same time implementing a degree of remote management and control.

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12 noon –  1:30 p.m. IMCCA State of the Industry Lunch and Learn. IMCCA will present a complete Solution Summit on Unified Communications and Collaboration. Every part of it promises to be great. But because you need to eat, too, consider paying for a ticket to this always-standing-room-only event. IMCCA always bring together top UCC thought leaders from leading tech companies and the discussion is predictably lively and insightful.

12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. Future Trends in Higher Education. Mark Valenti, CTS Founder, President and CEO of The Sextant Group, knows a thing or three about technology in learning spaces. His fingerprints are on more than 200 campuses, where he’s brought new ideas and solutions. For tech managers, this session is a must-see.

2:30 p.m.  Exhibits! Okay, get yourself back to the show floor, if you haven’t been there already. Tech managers should beeline for the UCC and Digital Signage Pavilions. And if you want to return to work hawking knowledge of new technologies your colleagues have never heard of, try the new Innovations Showcase, where start-ups and tech companies just entering the AV market will open the kimono.

5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Technology Managers’ Reception. That’s right, a reception just for you. It’s like we knew you were coming. You’ll be hungry after Day One, so come compare notes and relax. Room W108B.

Thursday, June 18

7:30 a.m  –  9:30 a.m. Women of InfoComm Networking Breakfast. Men are invited, too! Bestselling author and communication strategist Sam Horn presents “Don’t Just Lean in — Step Up to Create the Career You Want, Need and Deserve.” All attendees will receive a copy of her book, Got Your Attention? How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone.

9:31 a.m. – 10:29 a.m. Yes, it may take a bit longer to get back and forth, but here’s a quick hour for you to make a booth visit or two on the show floor. They caught your eye yesterday, now go back and ask the manufacturers a few questions about their solutions. The bathroom visit can wait.

10:30 a.m. –  12 noon. Designing Classroom Systems that Deliver Exceptional Learning Experiences. This is the session at InfoComm 2015 where you fully grasp those letters we all love and dread: B-Y-O-D. Andrew Milne, CEO Tidebreak, describes how to get the best out of new technology.

12:30 p.m. –  2 p.m. Next Generation Learning: Video, Telepresence, and Telecommunications in the Classroom. Marko Jarymovych, CTS, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School discusses three cloud-based visual collaboration solutions the school recently deployed. Have you tried the cloud yet?

2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. I know, you haven’t eaten or checked your smartphone since breakfast. You could do that now, and/or head back to the show floor, or get your tech on with one of these sessions: Virtualization of AV Components or Just Because it’s Wireless Does It Mean It’s Collaboration? Two great topics; two great teachers. Can’t go wrong.

Friday, June 19

Yes, technically, this is your fourth exceptional day at InfoComm 2015. Bonus! I often set aside time on Friday to take a more leisurely tour of the show floor. No set agenda, just looking for things I missed. All you audiophiles, this might be a good day to mellow out in several of the Audio Demos Rooms.

If you’re angling for your Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certification and you think you’re ready now, there will be testing all week. Plan accordingly.

But relax. Friday is good for reflection. Remember, the show floor closes a little earlier, but not much earlier. So take in all you can and start looking forward to Vegas in 2016.

This column was reprinted with permission from InfoComm International and originally appeared here.