In the lead up to InfoComm 2012 there was a very big question being asked in the AV community. Extron, one of the show's largest exhibitors, had made a big deal of pulling out for good and devoting its resources elsewhere. Attendance had been down since its pre-recession peak, and nobody was expecting 2012 to shatter any records. In all corners of the AV world, people started asking the same question: does InfoComm still matter?
One year later, not only do we have a firm answer to that question, but the answer doesn't even matter. Yes, of course, without a doubt, InfoComm still matters. Anyone who attended knew that the minute they set foot on the show floor. It's the reason that it matters so much that's important.
There are two reasons.
The obvious is that almost out of nowhere, InfoComm set an all-time attendance record of 35,126. In interviews even the day before the show, InfoComm organizers wouldn't even dare to wish for an all-time record. We heard time and again the same refrain: largest show on the East Coast. We now know they achieved the unthinkable—record setting attendance—and in Orlando, where attendance is traditionally lower than the more popular destination of Las Vegas. That's tremendous.
But really, it's icing on the cake. Even if that record hadn't been shattered, InfoComm would have still been more important than ever. Why? Because this show wasn't about any one product category emerging—it was about themes finally coming together that have been talked about for years, and experiencing it first hand.
It's safe to say that 4K had a breakout year at InfoComm. From Alcorn McBride's Carbon4K to DVI Gear's MXP Series 4K switcher to the countless 4K displays, it was everywhere you looked. But you don't need to attend a trade show to grasp what 4K is.
It would, however, be far harder to understand the conceptual technology we saw demonstrated last week. I'm talking, of course, about the convergence of AV and IT that finally came to fruition at InfoComm 2013.
Interestingly, I didn't hear that ubiquitous c-word uttered once during my entire week in Orlando. That's because up until this show, convergence had been discussed almost out of fear. This horrible thing that was coming whether we liked it or not.
At InfoComm, there was no need to talk about convergence. Things have already converged. It happened. And instead of being something to fear, everyone in attendance saw this new world for the opportunity it truly is. Why wish for an exciting new product category when there is literally an entire new segment ready to be embraced.
There is absolutely no way to understand this new world of opportunity other than seeing it first hand at a trade show, and having the incredibly knowledgeable exhibitors there to walk you through what they're offering. If you were there, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You left energized and ready to expand your business in new and exciting ways.
If not, now you know. This industry is not messing around, and InfoComm matters more than ever.