I loved AVI’s LIVE Show – Here’s Why

I was honored to be the Luncheon Keynote Speaker at the AVI LIVE 2017 show yesterday in Cincinnati, Ohio, yesterday. And, it was incredible. Everything about it! The branding, the education, the atmosphere, the venue, the vendors, the customers, the food — well, OK, the food was decent, but the rest was awesome.

The Branding: AVI Systems founded in 1974 as OMF Audiovisual, is owned by Joe Stoebner — an industry icon — has no debt, and is growing as fast as any AV integration firm is in the entire USA. And, as someone who teaches branding to college students at the University of North Carolina School of media and Journalism, I must say that I think they have some of the best branding in the AV industry. The logo, their style, they’re culture and they’re aura is all consistent with the image they portray. Kudos to AVI’s marketing team!

The Education: Unlike most dealer integration shows, AVI’s was different. Instead of just having a mini-tradeshow with a class or two sprinkled throughout the day, at the core of AVI LIVE was education. The two-day event included 12 hour-long courses — all pre-show. This is a big deal as most integrator shows I’ve been to or spoken at hold the show all day and the educational offerings are either all product-focused or happen during show hours. LIVE was neither. Even the manufacturers who help educational offerings talked use case, technology or workflow — not about products. And, the attendees appreciated this as the show floor actually opened AFTER the educational sessions were over and they would enter the floor seeking out the technologies discussed in each session. For example, in my keynote, I talked about how collaboration was not just an emerging trend but that there were over a dozen companies on-hand there at the LIVE show who could demonstrate collaborative meeting rooms and classroom systems right there on the show floor. And, AVI themselves had three completely integrated room systems to demo, too — one even usedAmazon’s Alexa to totally control the room.

The Atmosphere: Everything seemed new. Sure, the cool branding of the event itself likely helped with this observation but, all the exhibiting companies showing there showed only new stuff. New gear. And, in many cases, they were co-located with partner vendors where they showed their stuff working together. Everything was systems-focused.

The Venue: OK, this was the gem of the whole experience — the AVI LIVE event in Cincinnati was literally held inside the Cincinnati Reds’ stadium — the Great American Ball Park. Who can’t love that? And, the day culminated in a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium itself.

The Vendors:
 AVI LIVE was a who’s who of AV today. Prysm, Extron, Crestron, Barco, Cisco, Polycom, Epson, Harman and Kramer is just part of the story — and, again, all of them were systems-focused. Over 45 vendors showed at the Cincinnati event this week and all of them will be in Chicago and Minneapolis for the May events.

More to come and we’ll be covering the Minneapolis and Chicago events way, way bigger! Hint, Hint!