Why Tradeshows Matter

By Christa Bender and Rich Prevete

As you may know by now, I attended InfoComm Connections in NYC last week.  Rich Prevete joined me on the trip to InfoComm Connections and you know what? It was a first for either of us to attend this show.

Trade shows mean many things to many people. Some people attend to see the latest and greatest gadgets that are released as well as talk to manufacturers about existing or future products. Some people attend for the education seminars. Some attend to meet with industry peers. Some go for all of these reasons and more (I know that these are the main reasons why I attend a trade show).  Even with these reasons, some still question the value of a trade show. Some question as to whether the education learned at a trade show was worth the day out of the office. To these naysayers, I say that it is all in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes a moment of educational clarity helps a person make sense of a project they were struggling with.  Or a discussion with a manufacturer regarding a disastrous project provides the solution that allows the project to flow smoother towards completion.

If you attended InfoComm 2015 in Orlando, then maybe you didn’t need to attend InfoComm Connections in NYC. But what about all of the people that did not attend the show in Orlando? How do they get the chance to get real-life education training or talk to manufacturers? That is where the regional shows become immensely valuable. I’ve not always been able to attend the InfoComm show, so when there is a chance to attend a regional show, I grab onto that chance and go. Hey, it’s five months after InfoComm so there has to be new products or solutions available, right? After all, we are in the technology business.

So now comes the best part of this blog (if you are still reading). Rich goes into detail about his experience at InfoComm Connections. If you’ve ever met Rich, you can hear his Brooklyn accent as you read through his day and if you haven’t met him yet, this gives you a glimpse into the AV industry’s best kept secret. His reaction alone to attending InfoComm Connections is why I think trade shows matter.


(cue Brooklyn accent)

Today was a FIRST for a couple of reasons: my first InfoComm event, first time attending a class — Project Management for Live Events (thanks, Chuck Espinoza), the first time I actually talked to product representatives. The whole day was awesome. Oh yeah, and it was the first time in 20 years of being a NYC transplant to the Philadelphia suburbs that I took the train to NYC.

First let me say the walk to the Javits Center was like waiting for Christmas morning: I reviewed the list of manufacturers, developed a list of my favorites I wanted to see, and added a training seminar. I was ready to go. As my ID tag printed out I was ready to gain access to the AV Promised Land.

Auntie Em, Auntie Em! I was a big boned kid in a candy store — I want to look over there, shiny, wait, what’s that, are they on my list? Then my AV mentor and nerd extraordinaire @AVChrista started to introduce me to other AV nerds. Breathe slowly, slowly; I’m OK now, really I am. Chuck, Brad, Corey, Paul and others. Breathe slowly. Whew, I’m OK. Time for that training class. I was the only one taking notes. Now I’m back on the floor and there’s Shure with those really cool (to me) MOTIV line of mics I can use with my iOS stuff. Extron straight ahead, just stand there and look. The magical moment came while I was talking to a very talented guy, producer and podcaster, an all around mega nerd, when I saw it for the first time: the Planar OLED transparent display. That 32″ plane of glass was the candy store of all candy stores to this big boned kid.

I listened in on a lot of conversations and talked to a few people as the clock moved closer to the end of the day. I’m already looking forward to the next AV trade show.