Well another InfoComm has come and gone, and another Las Vegas record was set this year with over 38,000 attendees at the 2016 show. By attendance alone, you’d have to agree that the show is as healthy as ever.
The InfoComm show is an amazing place to connect with industry peers, showcase new products to AV integrators, and to debut new technologies with the potential of changing the face of business as we know it. In the last few years, the show has also started to draw the attention of some end user attendees, a large number of those being the technology departments from universities and colleges around the country.
Despite the success of the show however, as an industry, we still sometimes have a problem with visibility. Many IT and technology managers that hire out AV services and buy AV products are not fully aware of what InfoComm is and what value it adds. They many times are not familiar with our certifications like CTS and CTS-D. They may not know why it is valuable to hire an AV firm that has committed itself to a level of quality required by InfoComm’s programs like APEx. So how do we draw more attention to our innovative manufacturers and dedicated integration professionals?
My initial thought on this is that we need to cast a wider net. Look at CES that is also held in Vegas every year. That show reached 176,676 attendees in 2015 and actually had to be capped at 176,000 in 2016. You may argue this is a poor example as CES is a consumer electronics show, and that an industry show like InfoComm would never reach that level of attendance. To that I’d point out that another industry show, NAB, which is also held in Vegas, consumes nearly twice the floor space of InfoComm, has 80 percent more exhibitors, and boasts nearly 3 times the attendance, with over 103,000 attendees in 2016. The show definitely has the potential to grow beyond 50,000 attendees and that’s a good thing for everyone.
On the subject of casting a wider net, in a pre-InfoComm podcast I hinted at one way to do this by inviting your potential clients to the show. I have had success with that in the past, but is the show really geared towards those end user clients? Not just technology managers, but business leaders? Is there an opportunity to “repackage” InfoComm in a way that we draw in more of these executives who may not be familiar with all the inside baseball of our technologies, but are concerned with productivity and business efficiency just the same? Would this same “repackaging” be an asset in recruiting new talent into the AV industry, both veterans from peripheral industries as well as the young people NSCA’s IGNITE program is trying to reach?
I think the answer is a resounding yes and here is the most exciting thing about the concept… it seems InfoComm is on board.
One of the most exciting meet and greets I had at the show was with a group of marketing professionals I ran into at the AV Tweet-Up. I won’t disclose their identity here because I’m unsure they’d want me to, but they have been engaged by InfoComm to explore different ways of communicating who the AV industry is and what we do for businesses. Given the fact that they came to InfoComm and attended several events, interacting with AV professionals from multiple roles, I’d say that they have most likely gained some great insight already as to how to do that.
This takes InfoComm’s idea of Exceptional Experiences to another level by connecting the dots between the experiences and the educated and dedicated professionals that make them a reality.
It’s always hard to tell what fruit an effort like this will bear, but I can tell you that an unplanted tree bears no fruit at all. Kudos to InfoComm for planting the seeds of this project to see what may be possible. It may just be a critical part of recruiting new talent, of promoting our industry education to the end users who use our services, and to growing the show to 100,000 attendees some day.