2019 was like no other year I can recall. While the AV-economy experienced explosive growth, at the same time, a few big brands nearly disappeared, namely InFocus and Polycom. How can the Kleenex of projectors, InFocus, literally divest themselves of projectors? Well, it happened and, that happened to be our biggest story of 2019. In fact, we are proud to announce that we, officially, reported it before ANY other news source in the world. In fact, for the first few days of the InFocus divesture, and until official news was released from the company itself, we were reported as the source of the news by publications like The Oregonian newspaper, Fortune magazine and the Wall Street Journal.
Our second-biggest news story of the year came by way of a lawsuit. As everyone in AV knows by now, ClearOne patented the integrated beamforming microphone array in a ceiling or wall-tile configuration and they were granted an injunction against Shure, as our August 6, 2019 story reported, barring them from selling the first design of the MSA910 Ceiling Array Microphone. Since this story was reported, Shure redesigned the mic array and has started shipping a new version of the MXA910 as our editor, Sara Abrons, reported in this story from mid-November.
Our third-biggest story of 2019 was the release of our coveted rAVe Readers’ Choice Awards — the AV industry’s highest achievement. In fact, it’s one of the few (or maybe even the only) awards in AV that has a nomination process you can’t pay to enter. Unlike nearly every other news publication in AV, we decided long ago not to make awards a profit-center of our news business. So, we don’t just get thousands of entries, we top 80,000 votes. So, our winners are truly representative of what the AV people really think are the best of the best in AV each year. Here’s a review of the 2019 winners, in case you didn’t see the story.
Number four for 2019 is a story that, by the time the year ends, will likely be our biggest story for the year — it’s the journey that Fred Bargetzi took in his nearly 30-year-old AV career at Crestron and the public announcement that he has been diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Covered by close friend, Scott Walker of Waveguide, LLC Fred’s story accompanied a plea by all of us to help Fred’s doctor at Columbia University to raise money to fight ALS. We hope you have already read his story and will contribute here.
Our fifth-biggest story of 2019 was another scoop from our reporters in that we were the first to announce that Zoom and Microsoft, via their Microsoft Teams and Zoom Video applications, would be interoperable for video calling by the end of Q1 2019. This very well may be the biggest UCC news of 2019 as this means that, no matter which UCC platform you choose (now including Cisco Webex too), you can join in on the same meeting without downloading and setting up an account on a different UCC platform.
The sixth biggest story of 2019 was our Three AV Companies to Watch in 2019 story from Mark Coxon, from way back in early January. In that story Mark nailed it in predicting that Biamp, QSC and Williams AV would all be big newsmakers in 2019. Since that story was published, Biamp has purchased both Community Loudspeakers and Apart Audio, QSC has purchased Attero Tech and added video to its “over-IP” platform and Williams AV has become one of the leaders in wireless assistive listening systems. So, we’ll certainly all be looking for Mark’s three companies to watch in 2020 article, huh?
The seventh biggest story of 2019 was my blog about the history of Proxima and how it would make a good business case study on how not to buy a company — referencing InFocus’ purchase of Proxima way back in 2000.
Our eighth and ninth biggest news stories were, coincidentally enough, our announcements of our Best of ISE 2019 Awards and our Best of InfoComm 2019 Awards stories. Our ISE story edged-out the InfoComm story as our EMEA readership saw explosive growth in 2017 and 2018 making it nearly identical, in numbers, to our North American audience. Thus, our readership is more global, now. Plus, ISE is a bigger show than InfoComm. But, in both cases, we don’t accept money to enter these awards nor do we even accept nominations.