Countdown to InfoComm 2014: Steve Emspak on the Show's Hidden Gems

I much prefer to work around the perimeter of the show, concentrating on the smaller vendors and what they have to offer. Often you find true diamonds in the rough. Objects that are real problem solvers for us, and that can range from A-Z. To me it’s not about what you expect to see; it’s all about what you don’t expect to see, and what you can find. Every morning at InfoComm we host an internal breakfast for our global staff. It provides two key opportunities: introducing new members of the SMW family to meet each other and providing a casual forum to exchange information on what they may have found in the way of problem solvers. You will hear a lot of ‘Hey, why don’t you come along with me to visit XYZ.’ It’s an excellent mentoring opportunity.

In general I stay away from the mainstream manufacturers unless there is something very specific that I need to meet with them about. We see them all the time, and for the most part they are forthcoming with new product announcements or previews prior to InfoComm. Even if we don’t get a preview, we know that they will be visiting with us in the coming weeks to talk about whatever that new widget may be.

Often we will have clients with us at InfoComm, as it gives us an excellent opportunity to introduce them to the industry if they don’t know it well, discuss various pertinent technologies and arrange specific product demonstrations. We will arrange very structured booth tours, which also allows the manufacturer to meet our clients where they can show their own strengths, bringing forward the necessary technical expertise when the client can feel comfortable with a long-term relationship.

Steve Emspak is partner at Shen Milsom & Wilke. Follow him on Twitter @stevestollroad