The Top 10 Stories of 2020


Gary Kayye 2020 Sucks

The author packing up his daughter’s NYC apartment in May.

2020 sucked!

So, now that we got that out of the way, let’s review the top 10 AV, UCC and Digital Signage stories, according to data, in 2020!

The top story of 2020 was the the acquisition of Whitlock by AVI-SPL. Marketed as a merger, this didn’t appear to be one in hindsight. Whitlock is now a distant memory, in fact, the COO, Doug Hall, retired only a few weeks after the acquisition and the website, LinkedIn page and emails from Whitlock have all been changed to AVI-SPL branded ones. This was a BIG DEAL in 2020 as it created a worldwide mega-dealer in AVI-SPL, now the largest AV dealer in the world. With this story, we scooped the industry — we reported it nearly 10 hours before anyone else did.

Number two clocked in with the rAVe 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards. With over 205,000 votes, this was, by far, the biggest award event of 2020. And, unlike every other AV publication, we don’t charge for awards. So, not only were these voted on by #AVtweeps, but, they represent real awards — no pay for play.

The third most popular news story, based on actual views and reads from our website, was when we scooped the industry, again, with a major news story – the creation of the joint venture between Sharp and NEC Display — globally. This created a major player in display and one of only two companies that has every kind of display technology made on earth.

The fourth-biggest news story of 2020 was probably one that encompasses 2020 more than any other story of the year — our tribute to Kelly Johnson, our long-time accountant who died of COVID-19 in July. Many of you wrote us to tell us that Kelly was not only the sweetest voice you’d ever talked to (#true and #Southern) but also said she was the first person you knew who died of COVID-19. This was the toughest thing our team has ever endured and she is missed more every single day. She was a beacon of light at rAVe for nearly 15 years, and her impact on rAVe is penned beautifully here.

Sitting at number five is my story from April, on how COVID will ultimately help the UCC, digital signage and AV industries.  It’s clearer now, more than ever before, that I was right when I wrote this but, who’d have thought that we’d still be masked up and trade-show-less entering 2021 — with no clear end in sight. And, although this disaster will create incredible opportunities for growth, this has also created a sad, sad situation for many thousands of my #AVtweeps who are still jobless or under-employed. I wish I could hire them all and I hope you will start to, soon!

I took the number six spot, too, with my 2020 Kayye’s Krystal Ball  How wrong I was, however, in predicting that room-based UCC systems will dominate the 2020 AV landscape, we’d see seamless collaboration between Zoom, Teams and Cisco and the collapse of the residential AV market. It’s all here, if you want to be amused, but later this month I hope that my 2021 Kayye’s Krystal Ball will debut and I can redeem myself!

The number seven spot was a piece by Adam Cox on how videoconferencing has changed in the age COVID-19. It’s a perfectly timed piece and, although it was published in May, it still garners a ton of interest today, too!

Our own Bob Snyder, editor of rAVe Europe, popped into the top 10 at number eight in 2020 with his story all about “greenwashing.”  In it, he argues the Green Movement in AV spawns from  schizophrenic motives including messages like “save the world, help our customers, save others… and ourselves money.” It’s controversial and interesting!

Number nine was the wrap-up article written by our own Leah McCann detailing the best moments of LAVNCH WEEK 1.0, which took place on LAVNCH: our virtual and hybrid events platform. LAVNCH WEEK 1.0, literally, ended up being the industry’s first virtual event of 2020 and saw well over 2,500 attendees during the last week of April. We’re proud to have hosted more than 45,000 attendees since then, and we have big, big plans for LAVNCH as we roll out LAVNCH PEOPLE soon! Details on how to register for LAVNCH WEEK 3.0 will be coming out next week!

Finally, the 10th biggest story of 2020 was, drumroll please, Mark Coxon’s Survive to Thrive piece — all about how to thrive in unprecedented times! He is artistic in his detail and everyone’s loved this story. Read it if you haven’t already!