An Invite To InfoComm

InfoComm International is bringing its annual InfoComm exhibition and conference to the Orange County Convention Center next month in Orlando, FL. InfoComm officials are once again anticipating record-breaking figures, projecting more than 27,000 attendees and more than 775 exhibitors, a bump from last year's 725. Conference sessions run June 3-9, while the show floor is open June 7-9.

As the AV market becomes more prosperous, InfoComm officials continue to place a keen eye on the show's focus. "We really put the show together to reflect what's going on in the industry, which is very well defined with a lot of vertical markets," said Randal A. Lemke, Ph. D., executive director of InfoComm International.

Staying true to its roots, InfoComm continues to target systems integrators, the rental and staging arena, independent reps, and the business and corporate arenas. But according to Lemke, this year's show takes a bolder approach with its vertical markets.

"The proliferation of AV needs is all around us, in different markets with different customers. Today, you won't find a trade show or professional meeting or boardroom without some type of AV support," he said. "We're now part of the everyday world of communication, and we're moving and going to a place with more opportunity."

Lemke coined the AV Worship industry as a growing, exciting opportunity. Building on that growth, the show is introducing a two-day "Technologies for Worship" conference. "The worship market is growing and we identify it as a major vertical market," commented Lemke. Sessions include "Producing a Worship Service" and "Resources For Media Ministry."

The show will boost its audio offerings this year, specifically with a new track hosted by Frederick J. Ampel of Technology Visions. The "Loudspeaker and Speech Intelligibility Workshop" is a one-day course on June 9 that will detail loudspeaker systems (rentals and installs) and the test and measurement tools available for them.

To further boost its audio offerings, InfoComm has added an additional audio demonstration room this year, bringing the total to 12. "This is [traditionally] a systems integration show, but we have more than 225 audio exhibitors this year, so these demo rooms are very important," Lemke noted.

The New Stuff
This year's show will play host to several debuts, including the System Programming & GUI Design Gallery. Sponsored by Crestron, this touchpanel control will showcase the work of Crestron Authorized Independent Programmers on 15-inch Crestron touchpanels. The gallery will be situated at the main entrance of the convention center.

With the convergence of AV and IT, InfoComm has devised a pre-show series of four tutorials in conjunction with Network Computing magazine. The tutorials are designed to assist AV pros with the fundamentals of collaboration in the IT realm. The courses are being held at the Orange County Convention Center June 5 and 6, and a fee holds for each.
InfoComm 2006 also welcomes the return of many popular pavilions, including digital signage and collaborative conferencing. This year also rolls out two new pavilions: digital content creation and lighting and staging, both dedicated to their respective technologies.

If It Ain't Broke
Following in its previous success, the EduComm conference will return, in addition to InfoComm's Institute For Professional Development. "Our education program at the show this year is large, and growth in that area has been healthy," said Lemke. He expects roughly 1,500 education reps present this year.

According to InfoComm, it has seen a 60 percent annual growth rate over the past two years with certification. "Our program is robust. We have more than 3,000 people taking online courses with us at one time, and in the future we will be licensing our courses," Lemke reported.

The three-day EduComm conference will confer on the integration of AV and information technology to enhance today's classroom experience. Led by Steve Wozniak, founder, CEO, and chairman of Wheels of Zeus.

The Large Venue Display Gallery returns as well, with representation from Extron, Crestron, Barco, Christie, and more. The Gallery has been enhanced with a special projection technology and HD signal distribution education area. And this year's off-site AV tours include some exciting Orlando attractions, such as SeaWorld and Cirque du Soleil La Nouba. For educators, there's a tour of the University of Central Florida on June 7, where the Rosen College of Hospitality Management will offer a personal look at the campus' interactive television capabilities, multimedia equipment, and digital signage technologies.

Good For Government
InfoComm continues to remain a valuable venue for the government market, as military applications become more widespread in the AV arena. According to Lemke, digital signage, education, and command and control applications are growing.

He attributed some of that growth to the show's International Buyer's Program, which returns for a second year. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the IBP unites international buyers with U.S. firms by advocating for trade shows in the U.S. with high export potential.