Countdown to InfoComm | Thrown to the Wolves

5/13/2015 4:03:00 PM
By Kelly Perkins and Ashton McGinnis
Imagine beginning your AV career at InfoComm. First of all, it’s three days in Las Vegas. Second of all, it’s in the middle of June. And at first glance, it’s just an oversized convention center filled with a bunch of middle-aged guys hawking black boxes with lots of shiny buttons and cables connecting to other black boxes with lots of shiny buttons.

At least that’s what I imagine Ashton McGinnis was thinking last year when she entered the Las Vegas Convention Center for the first time. And, because I am slightly evil and believe in learning by experience, I am doing it again at this year’s show—with the new addition to our marketing team.

In this instance though, I asked Miss McGinnis if she could give our new marketing gal (and other first time-attendees) some tips and tricks on what to expect, what to make the most of, what to ignore, and some general advice for those who are new to the industry.

  • Size. Check your iPod Health Dashboard at the end of the day, and there’s a good chance you’ve logged a good seven to 10 miles. 
  • Wear good shoes. Ladies, skip the heels; it’s not worth it. And men, it’s 2015. There are plenty of comfortable, good-looking shoes out there.
  • Mile high booths. Whoa. Vendors actually build multi-level booths. It’s like an entire city of Crestron. 
  • Getting access to booth personnel. I don’t know if it’s because we look young, or because we’re women, but take us seriously. In that little survey check box, not only can we specify and authorize, we can buy. 
  • Be a woman. Not a booth babe. Be a strong, intelligent, confident woman. We need more of these.
  • Find the booths with coffee. Or water. Or snacks. Or happy hour. We’re hungry and thirsty and will use that as an excuse to deviate from the schedule.
  • Go to the Tweet-Up. The Tweet-Up is one of the fastest, easiest ways to meet the movers and shakers in the AV industry. Plus they are fun, and it includes a happy hour. 
  • The taxi lines. The taxi/shuttle lines are horrific. Get out before the vendors do, or you’ll miss your dinner reservation.
  • Get business cards. You network and meet so many people. When you forget someone’s name, it’s nice to have a cheat sheet.
  • Latch onto the smart people. Grab an engineer and tag along for a few hours. You’ll learn an awful lot, and if you’re lucky, some even speak layman's. 
  • Take a class. Or two or seven. Even if you have no idea what it’s about. You’ll end up learning something. 
  • Play the “See How Many ‘K’s’ I Can Find” game. 4K. 8K. 10K. What will the rage be this year? And no, we’re not talking about the races.
  • Do every virtual reality activity possible. Because it’s really fun.
  • Live animals and AV don’t mix. Please, oh please keep your spiders and alligators at home. 
  • Layer. Think 100-plus degrees outside (and this year with the added humidity in Orlando) with maximum AC.
This isn’t a whole lot of “see this product” or “see that technology,” but for those who are new to the industry, it at least gives you a little background on what to expect at your first InfoComm—or at least some friendly advice from a veteran and rookie InfoComm attendee.

Kelly Perkins is a marketing expert at AVI Systems. She believes in genuine people, music with feeling, good books, useful technology, smooshed-face dogs, and spicy food. Follow her on Twitter @AVI_Kelly.
Ashton McGinnis is an extremely motivated individual engaged by creative, strategic work that provides challenge and growth in global marketing. Follow her on Twitter @Ashton_AVI.

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