Crew Call: Event Planning During a Pandemic

July 14, 2020

Time marches on, but not fast enough. Our industry has been adept in helping clients transition from live events to virtual events, thereby keeping us all in business to some degree. However, some types of events — training, demos, straightforward business meetings — may never return to the live stage. Videoconferencing offers all the efficiency […]

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Redefined: New Terms to Mark the Changes to Rental and Staging

May 29, 2020

Well, change continues apace. I am a bit late in getting this article to rAVe, mostly because I am involved in my first national show since the coronavirus crisis began. And, believe me, things have changed. Now, a lot of people have predicted the decline of the rental and staging portion of the industry due […]

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Get Ready for a Brave New World

March 30, 2020

Last week, I wrote a column that basically asserted that things had changed. Well, things have changed since then, too. In that time, many parts of the country have gone from “social distancing” to full lockdown, including my own state. So the message from my last column, which was essentially to get out there and […]

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March 23, 2020

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article that talked about protecting your staff from the current epidemic. A lot has changed. Obviously, the virus becoming a worldwide pandemic has thrown the industry into a tailspin. As an industry, we have spent a lot of time in the tailspin condition, as we are an […]

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It’s a Match — How Dating Apps Can Help You Navigate Rental CRM

February 27, 2020

For a long time now, I have advocated the use of commonly available online tools to organize a rental and staging operation. Personally, I have long loved an SaaS application called BaseCamp, but there are many available tools like this one that enable us to organize our projects without having to invest a fortune in […]

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Going Viral

January 31, 2020

There is an old saw about the Chinese character for crisis being a combination of the characters for danger and opportunity. Friends who speak Mandarin tell me that this is not true, but it is so convenient that I wanted to use it here. Please consider it quoted. Linguistic folklore or not, I believe that […]

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Microstaging Meetings: Is Small the New Big?

December 27, 2019

If you are one of my readers (thank you) or if you are one of the many people in the rental industry that I am constantly calling for advice, you know that I have spent most of the last 18 months designing and implementing an “experience center” for a global manufacturer. The experience center type […]

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Search for the King

October 29, 2019

Around 25 years ago, there was a popular video game called “Search for the King.” It featured an unlikely hero, the head of an internal corporate AV department, who quit his job and went off on a pilgrimage in search of Elvis. The game had an interesting animated opening, in which the CEO derisively summoned […]

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What I Learned from Bill Sharer

August 26, 2019

For some time now, I have meant to do an article about sales and marketing for rental and staging, how they are different from the rest of our industry, how they are the same and how they are changing. I was not sure when I would put this on my schedule, but this week I […]

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You Got Drones in My Huddle Room

July 30, 2019

If you read our industry press at all (and I hope you do) you will note large numbers of articles on two subjects: 1. The “Huddle Room” and 2. Drones When two subjects like these fascinate an industry, it is almost inevitable that they combine in some way. (I consider this the “you got peanut […]

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AVaaS for Rentals: The R&D Factor

April 29, 2019

For many years, the joke in the rental and staging industry has been that we exist as the unpaid (and uncredited) research and development arm of the manufacturers that we buy from. Often, we are the first buyers of new technologies for a number of reasons. First, because of the technological pressure to stay ahead […]

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AI: But Seriously, Folks…

March 25, 2019

OK, for the last two months I have taken a very tongue-in-cheek look at the idea of artificial intelligence and robotics in the AV industry. I got a number of interesting emails from that column, from a criticism of my “union dues” joke to a number of serious thoughts about what A.I. would do to […]

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The Techinator

February 25, 2019

Last month, we talked about AI and robotics, how they were affecting our current electronics world and how they could affect the future of the audiovisual industry. Elon Musk recently pointed out that AI could take over the world, producing an unkillable AI global dictator and could literally spell the end of our species. He […]

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Winding It Up

December 18, 2018

Well, here we are again. The holidays are upon us, so it is time to pour a glass of, well, whatever a sales rep sent me for the holidays and summon my internal psychic. Each year at this time I write a final column for the year, summing up what I think the year has […]

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Oculus Connect 5 – The Experience

November 27, 2018

Last month, we discussed the Oculus Connect Developers Convention, a meeting I had recently attended in virtual reality. This month, I thought we would address the effectiveness of meeting in virtual reality. First, let’s discuss the event itself, which was the annual conference for Oculus virtual reality developers. For those of you who have been […]

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October 19, 2018

Last week, I attended Oculus Connect, the conference for Facebook/Oculus virtual reality developers. It was one of the best glimpses I have yet seen into the uses of a new technology that will change the way we do business in industries with events or communication and collaboration with remote people (rental and staging, collaboration, education, […]

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The Oldest Profession

September 20, 2018

Like many of you who are in the electronics business, I am an Amazon Prime subscriber. I’m somebody who has always searched through multiple stores to find the particular model of what it was I needed. Amazon now saves me lots of time, gets me the exact model I wanted and has it here the […]

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August 29, 2018

Those of you who know me know that I loathe most social media, especially Twitter. I feel that Twitter has done significant damage to our language, to the point that I now get email without punctuation or complete sentences. Our universities seem to have eliminated the essay in favor of the Tweet. I actually heard […]

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Searching for Internet Cheese

June 28, 2018

In my day job, I answer a lot of people’s questions about audiovisual and virtual reality technology. In fact, lately, that’s really all I seem to be doing. And to find those answers quickly, especially when it comes to determining things like part numbers and dimensions, I turn to the source that most people use: […]

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Sony’s InfoComm Video Wall Is So Good It Got Joel Rollins to Stop Talking (By Taking His Breath Away)

June 8, 2018

Editor’s note: Joel didn’t write the title of this column. I have always laughed at marketing “buzz terms” as used in our industry. In fact, I once devoted an entire column to them (Buzzards in the AV Industry, July 2010). Except today, I am going to use one myself: Breathtaking. It is simply the only term […]

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InfoComm 2018: The Rise of the Mega-Distributors

June 7, 2018

There is an enormous amount of great new technology here this year. And you can choose to get it from fewer and fewer companies all the time. One of the things that I have commented on in rAVe for several years is the difference between the way the AV market works in North America and […]

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Joel’s InfoComm Observations Day 1: Coffee (or Lackthereof) and Phone Handles

June 6, 2018

I arrived at the show this morning on the first bus at 6 a.m. thinking that I could beat the lines at the Starbucks here at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Boy, was I wrong. There were 200 people in line for coffee when I got here, and I am not a patient man, particularly […]

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InfoComm: A Wild Kingdom

May 22, 2018

When I was a kid, “family television” meant television to be watched by the family, and not television about families rehearsing for their court date or climbing over each other’s bodies to get to the throne. No, “family television” meant “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” hosted by noted zoologist Marlin Perkins. Each week, the show […]

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When Every Shot Is a Selfie

April 24, 2018

In politics and economics, a Potemkin village is any construction built solely to deceive others into thinking that something is better than it really is. The term comes from stories of a fake portable village built solely to impress Russian Empress Catherine II (Catherine the Great) by Grigory Potemkin; the structures would be disassembled after […]

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Lost in Virtual Space

March 26, 2018

Last month, we talked about AVaaS, (Audio Visual as a Service) and how it relates to the future of the rental and staging segment of our industry. My basic premise was that the current wave of cloud-based digital offerings has distorted our definition of the word “service,” much as social media has distorted our definition […]

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Defining AVaaS for Stagers

February 26, 2018

Over the last year or two, I have been reading with increasing frequency about AVaaS, or “Audio Visual as a Service.” In particular, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the writings of my friend Gary Kayye. Gary is one of the best I have ever met at analyzing a product in our industry […]

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AV Rental Equipment: a Potential Vector for Disease?

January 26, 2018

I woke up early this morning to the news that there was a massive outbreak of influenza taking place in North America, and that it was of a particularly virulent type. This brought to mind my experience with the peerless health care system in Singapore. I was due to attend a pre-convention meeting. I arrived very […]

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Higher Resolutions

December 18, 2017

Each year at this time, it is a Western tradition to examine our lives and to make New Year’s resolutions to improve them. Right. In previous years, I have attempted to give my readers a guide to making effective (or at least painless) New Year’s resolutions. My favorite New Year’s resolution technique, the “gimme,” involves […]

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It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Maintenance…

November 27, 2017

“’twas the night before Christmas, and all through the shop not an order is stirring so let’s get out the mop…” Yes, the holidays are upon us again. And with the exception of holiday parties and events, many of us can find ourselves looking for things to do. Having spent a few years working in […]

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Losing Our Lunch

October 26, 2017

This morning I was involved in testing two of the new virtual reality conferencing environments. As most of you will be painfully aware, the conferencing industry has gone through a number of revolutions in the past decade, from videoconferencing to telepresence to collaboration and now on to VR. At each of them, we tout the […]

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A Roadshow By Any Other Name

September 25, 2017

Well, as you have probably heard, our international trade association has changed its name. I have heard a lot of opinions about it this week (or at least been sent a lot of emoticons about it). Those of you who have been around a while may know that this is not the first time we […]

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Can AV Pull Off a 360?

August 24, 2017

The onslaught If you have been to any of the major electronics shows this year, or even if you have only been looking at websites for the advance sales for the holiday season, it is pretty obvious that this year’s hot holiday gift will be VR equipment. All of the major gaming manufacturers, the major […]

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