National distributor Almo Professional AV rolled its e4 tour into the New York Metro area Wednesday to highlight vendors’ new technologies, provide education on the latest hot topics, and fortify business relationships across the board.
Fresh off its Dallas run a few weeks prior, the New York installment was expected to attract slightly higher attendance of about 400 people. “This is much larger [than Dallas] because the New York area is our largest,” noted Sam Taylor, Almo executive vice president and COO, professional AV division.
Attendees seemed mostly relieved to see the tour depart from the density of Manhattan, where the event was held in previous years, because it is more accessible to people regionally and less hassle logistically. The increased space at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, NJ (less than 10 miles from New York City) allowed vendors to set up in much more spacious accommodations. Almo’s newest vendor, Atlas Sound, particularly took advantage by rolling in its exhibit truck, which would not have been feasible in the average midtown Manhattan hotel. Atlas had a number of new technologies onboard, including an IP public address system and a sound-masking device that sparked interest from attendees.
The more intimate experience offered by e4 provided integrators with more opportunities for those “aha” moments, Taylor said. ZeeVee is another new vendor he mentioned that many integrators were learning about for the first time at e4. Its technology enables distribution of HD video over coax cables—a great retrofit solution that yields much more cost-competitive results.
Since the recent Dallas tour stop, e4 exhibitor AMX reported closing several new deals as a direct result of the business conducted there. “We’ve literally had a couple of resellers go off, call us a couple of days later, and sell product as a result of that [Dallas] show,” said Jay Jenkins, AMX account manager. “So, we do see the benefit of the shows with that type of return on investment.”
Jenkins noted that the New York shows put the company in contact with new prospects, beyond Dallas, where the company is headquartered. “We do get a lot of new incremental reseller partner touches that we wouldn’t otherwise,” he said.
Other “buzzworthy” technology on display included Samsung’s surface table and Sharp’s 90-inch display.
Seeing as how attendance has grown each year, some exhibitors have used the tight-knit expo to introduce new products when the timing didn’t work out for InfoComm, according to Warren Chaiken, president and COO, Almo Pro AV.
Almo also works hard to supplement its vendor exhibit offerings with valuable educational opportunities, as well. The curriculum changes slightly every year, with the most popular classes continuing, such as Brawn Consulting’s “The Art of ‘Techorating’ With Displays For Commercial Applications.” Taylor said that e4 organizers were particularly interested in adding more video wall content, with various digital signage courses and “Video Walls: A Start to Finish Guide for Success,” presented by NEC.
Mobility education is one area Chaiken said they would like to further expand, reflecting the trend from AV to IT and now to mobility. This year featured “On-the-Go AV Apps,” presented by Tom Kehr of InfoComm.
Overall, there will definitely be some tweaks to the schedules, but the current format “runs like a fine-tuned machine,” Taylor said. He and Chaiken credit the dedicated staff responsible for planning e4 as “Almo’s secret sauce.”