There are four kinds of InfoComm Rental & Staging attendees. Each is identified by their focused schedule and telltale accessories. While everyone will spend a considerable amount of time on the exhibit floor, I advocate you buy into the all of the experiences InfoComm has to offer. Dig into the marketing materials and website and find something new to try this year. You might be surprised at the added value you can get out of the trip.
And while you are making the rounds, see if you can recognize your Rental & Staging counterparts. Here are the kinds of R&S attendees I can readily identify:
The All-In Player: This is the person who tries to take full advantage of the convention's education, exhibit, and networking opportunities. They might be someone who is just completely sold on the InfoComm member experience, but often they are a non-management employee whose privilege in attending rests on their productivity while there. This group also represents the most active association advocates, instructors, and council/committee members. Here's the kind of schedule you would expect the All-in attendee to follow:
The All-in Schedule
June 15-17, Certification Prep* 8:00 a.m. - 5 p.m.
June 17, Take CTS Exam at 3 p.m.
June 18, Super Monday Course*, Manufacturer's Forum, and InfoComm's Big Night
June 19, Emerging Event Staging Operation** 8:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Anatomy of a CA Staging Event* 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Exhibit Floor till 2:15 p.m.
Rental & Staging Forum & Reception 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Manufacturer Party till ????
June 20Entertainment Electrical Power Distribution* 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Audience Response Systems* 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Rental & Staging Council Meeting 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Exhibit Floor till 5:00 p.m.
VER Party till ????
June 21Exhibits 9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
HDV and Supporting Storage Technologies* 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Exhibits open until 5:00 p.m.
* There are tons of classes worth attending at InfoComm, these are a couple of suggestions.
** This is a shameless plug for my seminar.
With a schedule like this, it's no wonder the All-In attendee regards InfoComm as an education opportunity. The exhibits are something to do between classes and the parties are business networking obligations. These are the people that you see everywhere. On their own, they get more out of their entire InfoComm show experience than most companies do as a whole. Most common accessory for the All-in player is a full backpack or rolling briefcase.
The Executive: Bosses of all kinds come to the show, but the Executive is there to be seen - they would be conspicuous if they were absent. And because they will be seen, the Executive always has meetings setup to make sure he/she looks like they are on their way to something. Executives never wander - expect on the last day of the show, which is what I call anonymous day. The suit and tie or company shirt stays in the suitcase and the casual clothes come out. The nametag gets "accidentally" turned around to cut down on recognition and the entourage is sent home. Only then can the Executive wander the floor, look at products the company has no immediate use for, and ask dumb questions. It's for this reason that Executives always come up with the unexpected "finds" at the show.
The Executive attends the Rental & Staging Forum - but they arrive late, stand in the back of the room, and never ask any questions. They always slip away before the wrap-up to get to a meeting. They have not been to a seminar in years, but might attend an all-day Super session if the topic is business. Executive Accessory - Blackberry or Treo.
The Most Valuable Player: The MVP attendee is that person in any company that ALWAYS comes to the show either because of their position or their responsibilities. On one hand the trip is a perk, and on the other the attendee does need to keep up with what it going on. MVP's often set their own schedule, have personal relationships with key manufacturers, and attend courses if they look interesting.
They can be seen at the best steakhouses at dinnertime as the guest of a projection manufacturer. Part of their schedule is spent in the Executive's entourage, but they are not required to be there. They attend the Rental & Staging Forum to find out if their company is talked about and report back to their Executive. MVP's are often careful observers of technology trends, but are generally loyal to their core group of manufacturers. The MVP Accessories of choice are a Starbucks cup and cell phone.
The Designated Hitter: The DH has been sent to the show for a specific reason. Often it is to investigate a particular product or take a specific course. This is usually a one-night attendee (or a local) who has to cram a full conference experience into one and a half days. These guys never see their hotel room before 11 p.m. that night and they bring their luggage to the convention center to save time. There are probably more DH's at the show than anyone else.
The DH is easy to spot: they arrive on time to seminars and stay until the end, eat hotdogs while standing up with a trash bin for a table, and ride the bus to the manufacturer parties. In a way, they are the lifeblood of the show. DH's know that InfoComm represents a tremendous opportunity for their careers and they do not take it lightly. It's for this reason that most MVP's started out as DH's. DH accessories: Conference tote bag and all available show swag.
Regardless of what kind of attendee you are, don't miss out on the networking opportunities - especially the Rental & Staging Forum and Reception. This is open to everyone (no registration needed) on Tuesday June 18 at 2:30 p.m. For you slackers the reception starts at 4:30 p.m. The Rental & Staging Council meets on Wednesday from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Council membership is open to any InfoComm members that participate in rentals and we welcome newcomers to this meeting. See you at the show.
Whos Coming to See What at InfoComm?
In this months survey of Rental & Staging professionals, the topic was InfoComm. A whopping 64 percent of our respondents said they were planning to attend and another 20 percent said they had not decided. Only 15 percent knew they would not be coming.
Who are these people? 62 percent identified themselves as management, but the R&S definition of a manager is pretty vague. 15 percent were technical staff, and the remainder in sales or purchasing. The mix of who said they were going was almost identical to those said they definitely were not.
In terms of attendee plans, theres some pretty good-looking numbers on the Rental & Staging Forum and Reception. The Large Venue Display Gallery should be a big hit again this year. There are a very few folks who will take their CTS test at the show this year but they will be studying before they come. Good Luck to you. With the change to ANSI/ISO recognition in the Fall, it pays to get your CTS now instead of later.
We asked how suitable the InfoComm show is to check out these common R&S product categories. The responses were weighted to give us a relative scale. Its interesting to note that line array audio is neck and neck with video moving lights. Regular moving lights fit InfoComm the least and HD video projection the best. No big surprises here. InfoComm is till a video show to most folks. With only one of the major moving light manufacturers represented the Lighting & Staging Pavilion is still a work in progress. Having said that, it is also one of the more popular attractions on the floor. The exhibit booths there are far more interesting than the prototypical installation product displays in other areas.
Each month The Stimson Group conducts a short survey of AV industry professionals about a variety of topics. To participate in or comment on those surveys, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.