Lock and Load - AvNetwork.com

Lock and Load

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Were heading into the heart of the staging and AV tradeshow season. NSCA, NAB, and InfoComm loom large on the radar, and there are so many activities, workshops, show floor exhibits, awards programs, and more in the works, its hard to know where to start planning.

First things first -- be sure to log on to the www.rentalandstaging .com web site and vote for the best new products for the rental/staging market introduced in 2004. Details about the nominated products can be found on the voting site at www.rentalandstaging.com (see the list of the nominated products on pages 1213 of this issue). Voting ends April 12, so vote now. (And youll want to be in the room to see not only the Product Award, but also the Rental & Staging Systems Stage Event Award trophies being presented, so when you register for InfoComm be sure to sign up for the AV Communications Excellence Awards Banquet at InfoComm 2005 in Las Vegas, June 8-10.)
Ive said it before, and its becoming ever more apparent as the year rolls through the vertical market shows/events on the industry calendar: staging has broken free of the parameters that defined the industry for two decades.

Content--you know, that stuff they put through all those projectors and up on all those screens you fly? Well, if youre not following whats happening in the content production world, its going to jump off that screen and bite you. Its not just that companies like Barco, Vista Systems, Analog Way, Doremi, Grass Valley, and others are bringing new windowing, storage, and seamless switching solutions to market that bring content control down from the production level to the staging level. From the demand side, end users are also demanding that staging companies provide more services that previously resided in the realm of the show producer.

Digital signage continues to open up new revenue opportunities for AV professionals. The digital signage market stills needs beacons to guide new entrants to the market--and, regardless of experience, were all new entrants. The technology is too new to have settled into a definitive market channel. Often, content providers coming from the advertising world are not familiar with the traditional pro AV channel integrators and suppliers. (Thats you.)

For our part, CMP Information (publisher of Rental & Staging Systems), in partnership with ActiveLight, Inc., has announced a new quarterly magazine, Digital Signage Quarterly, that will highlight the business trends and technological innovations of the digital signage market. Issue #1 will debut at the 2005 NSCA Expo, March 1012 in Orlando, FL, in conjunction with the NSCA Expo Digital Signage ShowCase LIVE, a special technology pavilion and seminar program. AV technology is quickly migrating out from traditional spaces such as classrooms, boardrooms, and stages to the public sphere--whether in retail environments, public transportation, civic venues, arenas and sports stadiums, and more. You can grow your rental/staging business with judicious entry into one or more of those new markets. Mass media advertising buyers, burned by the ability of home consumers to zap commercials, are desperately looking for large space/public space AV/signage media at which to throw money. (Anyone know anything about images on large screens?) Walk away from those billions of dollars if you think digital signage is a fad.

NAB and InfoComm will show that AV technology is now entering the broadcast world, not just vice versa. See the Academy Awards broadcast this year? On the set of the Kodak Theatre, all that Barco LED (on the floor of the stage no less), projectors from Digital Projection on twenty-five different sizes of screens. Wow. Ive never seen such an invasion of AV technology into the Hollywood heart of the film and broadcast world. Lock and load, my friends. Thats just the beginning.

If 2005 has not already had you up nights thinking of ways to position your company for the changing marketing landscape born of the digital revolution, go to NAB, NSCA, or InfoComm. Then call me, tell me what you saw--and let me know if you napped on the flight back home.

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