I’m one of the few who hasn’t missed an InfoComm since my very first one in 2016. Since that year, I’ve gobbled up everything InfoComm that I could get my hands on. I even attended the virtual sessions in 2020! So when there was talk about an in-person InfoComm in 2021, I knew that I had to go.
If you remember from the couple of short blogs I wrote last year (linked below), you’ll know that I was plenty pleased with InfoComm 2021. I had the opportunity to write more. I attended every press conference I could (there were only a couple) and had the chance to network and go to parties and focus on industry education and I loved it!
If you caught any of rePLAY InfoComm 2022 last week, you’ll remember that I asked nearly every person I interviewed via Steph UNSCRIPTED what they thought about this show versus last year — if they attended both. Many of the thoughts were the same. People said:
- This year felt like a “normal trade show.”
- This year was not the size of 2019 and before, but it sure felt like it!
- This was busier than any of us could have ever hoped!
- There was STILL an emphasis on networking.
- There was an emphasis on use cases for products — perhaps something that stemmed from last year.
Let’s break all that down, shall we?
This year felt like a normal trade show. Why is that? Could it be because there were so many manufacturers here again that we were all fighting to make sure we got to see all the booths we wanted to see? Because you finally got to see all the friendly faces of the #AVtweeps you’ve come to know and love? Because, for some reason, every single person I know on the show floor was booked from show open until show close? Probably all of the above. I think that after last year, we were all so eager to get back into it that we rushed to make appointment after appointment. Are things completely back to normal? I don’t know. Will they ever be? Once again, I don’t know. But if this was any indication, I would say we’re ready for things to be somewhat back to how they were.
The size. Sure, it’s impossible to say how long it will take AVIXA to rebuild its show numbers after COVID-19 came and wrecked everything. It will probably be a while before we see a record-breaking attendance, but we have to be cognizant of what people think right now and how each person makes safety decisions for themselves. I think InfoComm will be back to its prime in a year or two! And for why this year FELT just as big? I think it has to do with the above! We were all so anxious to come back that we made all the appointments to do everything we could in those three short show days.
Once again, busy, busy, busy. This was probably one of my busiest trade shows and it wasn’t because of the size! This was one of my first regular-scale trade shows as the managing editor and that comes with a lot of responsibilities I didn’t use to have! It was definitely a lesson in time management and learning more about not biting off more than you can chew! I think many of the other show attendees felt the same way. Just because the show is back, doesn’t mean that we can (or should) do EVERYTHING. It leads to burn out!
The emphasis on networking this year was still there but not quite what last year was. I think last year, since there weren’t as many manufacturers or products, we focused heavily on one another — and that was a great way to bring trade shows back. This year, it was a mix! Some didn’t go to InfoComm 2021, so they were heavily focusing on reconnecting with other #AVtweeps. Others got the networking in last year and were ready to focus completely on products. Having that balance is what will lead to growth for trade shows again, in my opinion.
Finally — use cases over products themselves. What do I mean? There were not as many boxes on pedestals this year. Manufacturers were really pushing what the products DO. So, they’d show things in action. They’d build retail vignettes to show how signage looks in a store. Or show their display but with kickass content on it rather than just the brand’s logo. This is what excites me about AV. It’s getting so creative! I think the more we continue with this, our industry can only go up from here.
I’m so excited to have another show under my belt and I am more than thrilled for next year. I absolutely cannot wait for InfoComm 2023 and I hope to see you all there!