So with nearly 1000 companies on the floor exhibiting this year at InfoComm 2013 and a sea of attendees that will exceed 35,000, there is the potential to leave after 3 days transfigured into an AV Zombie, repeating taglines and promises ad hoc and mixing your adult beverage of choice with all the Kool Aid you were given on the plane trip home.
With that, if you are heading into Orlando this year for the big show, (I’m not even sure I’ll be there this year myself yet), I offer you these 8 tips for separating friend from foe and surviving the wave of AV Zombies that want to make you brain dead with their half baked innovations and “Me Too” products.
- Have a Plan– Anyone telling you how to protect yourself from attackers, undead or otherwise, will tell you to be alert and know your surroundings. Getting lost or distracted are two sure ways to lose your mind at InfoComm. Lucky for you,InfoComm offers an interactive floorplan and exhibitor list that allows you to mark out your safe houses and arsenals that will provide your business with the AV staples and new artillery needed to survive the show and the next year.
- Come Armed– It is time to engage in some mental Zombie flipping Aikido. Look at the new product introductions, technology promises, and bold marketing claims the exhibitors are making in their preshow announcements and compare them with what you know from years of integration and past experience. Formulate your defense against the those attacks, and be prepared to bring your weaponry to bear, making them prove they are friend, and not a brain eating foe before you smash them back from whence they came.
- Get Training– Sun Tzu never had to fight AV zombies, but his logic applies here very well. “Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.” Coming armed is never enough. You must be able to accumulate new supplies in the battlefield. Use what you learn on the floor and in CTS training to enhance your position.
- Be Skeptical of the New Guy– InfoComm is touting over 200 “new” exhibitors this year, and I can bet you that the majority of them have a severe limp and a left foot protruding from the end of their tattered, dirty jeans that always seems to drag the floor a step behind. Innovation is not as prevalent as the “Me Too” muttering hordes would like you to think, so beware! You may find your brain being devoured by a vendor telling you about how they now can distribute video and bi-directional ethernet over 1 category cable. Swing for the fences with the “HD-BaseT-Ball” bat you brought along, and let the pieces fall where they may.
- Look for Anything “Strange”– If you look around and see what you believe to be a Fountain of Innovation to quench your AV Zombie fighting thirst, make sure you drop in a colorimetric tablet to detect potential cyanide before you take a drink. A vampire looks normal until he fails to reflect in a mirror, a werewolf is a neat guy until the moon comes full circle, and the 4k AV Zombies seem harmless enough until you notice that they are missing 3% of their face on both sides of their heads. . .
- Don’t Trust Old Friends– Unfortunately you never know when one of your most trusted friends may become infected with this AV Zombie-ism. Follow step 5 above when meeting old friends and re-evaluate them to make sure they haven’t fallen victim to the Zeitgeist. Many will turn out to be just fine, I’m just advising that before you hand them one of your tools of destruction and turn your head toward the battlefield, that you assess their appetite for your gray matter.
- Map the Exits. If all else fails, escape may be your only option. The “Me Too” Zombies may be too numerous to overcome, and even your tried and true industry friends may be exhibiting some abnormal behavior. Who knows, with 35,000 integrators locked inside 1 building in the Florida heat and humidity, the smell alone may become your nemesis. Hold on to your skull (or your nose) and head for the door before your brain is spooned out and replaced.
- Colonize and Reproduce– The good news is you will find an encampment of friendly, like -minded attendees and exhibitors atInfoComm 2013. They will in no way be the majority I assure you, so make sure you commune with these folks and form allegiances and outposts that will protect your common ground. Don’t believe the “Warm Bodies” hype and think you can change one of them. The wave of infection will have to pass at some point and by no means has to be a Resident Evil of the show floor for years to come. Wage battle, be fruitful, and multiply to outlast the AV Zombies.
In the spirit of collaboration, please add your tips to this survival guide in the comments below and make sure to print a copy before you land in Orlando in June!
If any Zombies decide to comment in protest, beware. . .