My First InfoComm

My First InfoComm

Each year, thousands of AV professionals gather together for InfoComm in either Las Vegas or Orlando. The show can feel like a giant reunion for your AV family, with networking events galore, new products to explore and classes to attend. #AVtweeps will proudly tell you how many years they’ve attended the show.

But what about when it’s your first time attending InfoComm, and that inaugural show happens to be held in October in the middle of a pandemic? We spoke with first-time InfoComm attendees to get their initial impressions of the show — and to find out if they’d attend again.

1. How did you prepare for your first InfoComm?

“I loved using the app for InfoComm, I was able to plan ahead for the sessions and what booths I wanted to visit. Also, my coworkers and I discussed what we were attending and what companies we wanted to meet with.”

Melissa Baglio, operations manager, AV Chicago

“I relied on the Higher Ed Tech Managers Alliance (HETMA) member recommendations to prepare and also just signed up for what sounded interesting and relevant to my position. I also signed up for as much as I could knowing that I wanted to just soak it all in!”

Annie Foster, associate director, Classroom Technologies, Washington and Lee University

“My travel authorization only came through the week before so I didn’t have a lot of time to schedule meetings and plan things out. I checked out all the podcasts and articles I could find (thanks AV Life, AVNation and rAVe PUBS). But, as with most things the past year or so, it was a lot of adjusting and going with things as they came. I also didn’t want to overschedule so I could leave some free time to meet with vendors and other people that I met during the week.”

Will DeWitt, A/V manager, College of Charleston

“For my first InfoComm, I honestly decided to just wing it and experience it with no expectations. Boy, am I glad I did. Every day was a new adventure in the best way. The people were phenomenal. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the AV industry. My only regret is not pacing myself. The week was NO JOKE.”

Lex Peters, CX/UX designer, University of Southern California

“I downloaded the InfoComm app and looked pretty closely through the exhibitor list, as well as the show floor map. I spent lots of time spent talking to previous attendees. I was advised to bring comfortable shoes and I’m so grateful I did!”

Ethan Trimmer, sales and marketing coordinator, THE rAVe Agency

“Being the host of The AV Life Podcast, I have had the fortunate ability to have MANY conversations with past InfoComm attendees. I was able to ask them questions to be able to mentally (and physically) prepare for the conference. With that knowledge in hand, as well as the awareness that this InfoComm was going to be different than in years past, I was able to jump right in the fun!”

Tim Van Woeart, senior project supervisor, Rutgers University

2. Was InfoComm different than you expected, or do you feel like it matched your idea of the show?

“Of course it was smaller than previous years, but it was still a great time! I was happy to see that people still showed up!”

Melissa Baglio, operations manager, AV Chicago

Amanda Boyer and Melissa Baglio at the AVIXA Women's Council Breakfast during InfoComm 2021.

Amanda Boyer and Melissa Baglio at the AVIXA Women’s Council Breakfast during InfoComm 2021.

“It was different! But I think it was the perfect first time show. I kept seeing people I had just met and some that I had known only over Zoom, so I felt like I was able to make quality connections.”

Annie Foster, associate director, Classroom Technologies, Washington and Lee University

“I have attended and worked at other large conferences but, even given the pandemic restrictions, InfoComm far surpassed the others. The variety of vendors and chance to find products and services I wouldn’t have otherwise known about would have been enough reason to go, but then there were a lot of great sessions I got to attend.”

Will DeWitt, A/V manager, College of Charleston

“The show was HUGE. I mean I thought I’d been to a big conference, but this was next level. Funny thing is I was told this is only 10% the size of it usually is. INSANE. It had both a fantastic sense of small-town community and big city vibes. Can’t tell you how, it just did.”

Lex Peters, CX/UX designer, University of Southern California

“I’ve only really ever heard how BIG the show floor is, and how large our team swells when we travel and attend. I was really pleasantly surprised, I think it was nice to be able to walk from one side of the show floor to the other fairly quickly. Everyone kept mentioning how friendly and excited people were to be there — I had not anticipated a heightened level of excitement to be attending an event in-person again.”

Ethan Trimmer, sales and marketing coordinator, THE rAVe Agency

“My expectations were far exceeded as part of this show. I knew it wasn’t going to be the same, but the energy from all the attendees and vendors was truly remarkable and could be felt in every interaction and in every session. We all knew this was the time to rejuvenate our relationships.”

Tim Van Woeart, senior project supervisor, Rutgers University

3. What was your favorite part of the show?

“I loved being able to see clients and companies still operating after the pandemic and coming back. Also, finally seeing people in person and not thru Zoom was great!”

Melissa Baglio, operations manager, AV Chicago

“My favorite part was the announcement of the Prism Scholarship to encourage women, LGBTQIA+, Black, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, disabled persons, and others to become active leaders and role models for technology managers in the higher education space! I also loved how many higher ed-focused events there were! In fact, I was asked to be on a higher ed panel due to a last-minute cancellation, I was nervous but the co-panelists were so supportive and I will always remember the experience.

Annie Foster, associate director, Classroom Technologies, Washington and Lee University

“My favorite part was finally getting to meet people I’ve only talked to online. HETMA and the higher ed community especially were a great resource for networking and finding out all of the opportunities available during the conference.”

Will DeWitt, A/V manager, College of Charleston

“Meeting everyone in person was, by far, the best part. Otherwise, I really enjoyed visiting the booths and seeing all the forward-thinking technology just ready to be used. I have never been more inspired for all the potential exciting projects for USC.”

Lex Peters, CX/UX designer, University of Southern California

Lex Peters and friends checking out technology on the InfoComm 2021 show floor

Lex Peters and friends checking out the technology on the InfoComm 2021 show floor.

“Meeting people! I recognized a lot of names and really enjoyed introducing myself and networking.”

Ethan Trimmer, sales and marketing coordinator, THE rAVe Agency

“My favorite part was all the networking opportunities. From the one-on-one interactions on the exhibit floor to the big networking events, like the Tweetup, the HETMA event and the Tech Managers reception. Also being able to see the impact the higher education is making in the AV industry through groups like HETMA … it’s so hard to pick just one favorite.

Tim Van Woeart, senior project supervisor, Rutgers University

4. What was your biggest takeaway from InfoComm 2021?

“The pandemic really has changed this industry. It will take some time to get everyone back up and running, but we are a resilient group of people and I am reminded how much we are all there to support each other.”

Melissa Baglio, operations manager, AV Chicago

“I am grateful for being able to network with other higher ed managers and share the products that we were each excited by a couple of people told me to check out booths that I had initially missed that were very applicable to the higher ed environment.”

Annie Foster, associate director, Classroom Technologies, Washington and Lee University

Annie Foster at InfoComm 2021

Annie Foster at InfoComm 2021

“Get your purchase orders in ASAP. Obviously, the supply chain is a huge problem in general. But my major installs won’t take place until next summer, so it was great to be able to check in with manufacturers to make sure we have the most up-to-date information.”

Will DeWitt, A/V manager, College of Charleston

“Don’t be afraid to dream big ideas — there’s always a way to get there. And women and people of color are SO underrepresented in the AV and tech world.”

Lex Peters, CX/UX designer, University of Southern California

“There’s a lot of passion in the AV industry. It made me happy to see how passionate people are about their work. Coming from someone who is still less than a year into working in the industry, I left feeling like I know virtually nothing about it, which is exciting for me!”

Ethan Trimmer, sales and marketing coordinator, THE rAVe Agency

“My biggest takeaway is that the work that I do, and others like me, in higher education has a huge impact on our industry. We are the ones that are changing the face of the industry and are the ones pushing the limits of what we can do. And that makes me proud and excited to be in higher ed.

Tim Van Woeart, senior project supervisor, Rutgers University

5. Do you plan on attending InfoComm again?

“Yes! Loved being able to see everyone and network. 10/10 would attend again!”

Melissa Baglio, operations manager, AV Chicago

“Absolutely! Being on the board of HETMA, I already agreed to go in June. But even if it weren’t for HETMA, I would plan on attending once every two years at least!”

Annie Foster, associate director, Classroom Technologies, Washington and Lee University

“I definitely plan on attending InfoComm again. There is a lot of information you can get without attending, but nothing can replace the serendipitous discovery of something you didn’t even know to look for.”

Will DeWitt, A/V manager, College of Charleston

“Absolutely. InfoComm is now one of my favorite memories in the AV industry by far. When they say AV community, they were not kidding.”H

Lex Peters, CX/UX designer, University of Southern California

“Duh!”

Ethan Trimmer, sales and marketing coordinator, THE rAVe Agency

“I am definitely going to be back at InfoComm! Not only to see a full-size InfoComm but to be able to continuously build my relationships and to further develop as an AV professional.”

Tim Van Woeart, senior project supervisor, Rutgers University

To stay up-to-date with the latest show news, visit our InfoComm 2021 microsite.