I just woke up from a nap, apologized to my neighbor on the plane for borrowing his shoulder, and I’m starting to reflect after another InfoComm. For me it was a successful show, blending relationships and technology together for what seemed like a whirlwind that aged my body 10 years—but didn’t last nearly long enough at the same time. Here are some raw thoughts on our industry, the trade show, and trends. At this point in time, I do not have any hard metrics about attendance or engagement, just my personal experiences.
First off, I noticed an encouraging enthusiasm around certification and training. I myself took a hearing loop class on Tuesday, and I think only half of us were integrators. A record number of attendees took the CTS exams, and a record number of attendees passed them, bringing the total number of certification holders to 13,000! Programs like TIDE, Center Stage, and the countless classes and seminars taught by volunteers were well received from the people I spoke with. While the excitement over seeing innovative products on the show floor will always be magnetic and sexy, teaching and attending classes that help improve the impact of AV solutions is refreshingly popular.
The focus on diversity is continuing to take hold. The AVIXA Women’s Council breakfast was packed, and the message from the keynote, Christine Schyvinck, was both practical and relevant: urging women to engage in STEM fields, make their intentions known to their superiors (so as to not get overlooked for promotions and development), and to continue meeting together for support and camaraderie. During the AVIXA All-Councils Meeting, Charmaine Torruella highlighted the need for inclusion and called upon the other councils to get involved and break down unintentional silos. The resulting tone and commitment from the room was exciting, and I am placing my bets now that the industry will have increased engagement with minorities and support for them by InfoComm 2020.
The show floor was interesting this year. The obvious attractions like the projection mapped sculpture, Samsungs’ The Wall, and the massive OLED curved video wall, from LG created plenty of buzz. There were several other exciting and fun products on display, but I feel like the world didn’t change for me during the week. AV ecosystems gained a new ability, firmware updates improved quality and added rich features, and the overall AV experience seemed to take less steps and feel better...but that was it.
I don’t view any manufacturer in a different light as a result of what I learned from them. What I did gain was a deeper relationship and understanding of how to better work with my vendors and distributors to create inspiring experiences and solutions. I had the chance to correct a vendor’s view of my target market and long-term goals—and how they should be working alongside me to reach them—and I also learned about how to better leverage several manufacturer’s design services and support I’ve largely been ignoring.
The ability to meet with over 50 brands and have these types of conversations in three days is a marvel. I maintain a close working relationship with all of my partners, but I am usually too busy to stop and discuss strategy during a typical work week. I am thankful for crazy exhausting weeks like this one where I can touch every aspect of my integration offerings and come away with the knowledge and mutual understanding needed to work smarter and more creatively.
My final thought on InfoComm 2019—it was a blast! If you didn’t get your AVIXA v-neck shirt, there are a few leftover and I highly recommend purchasing one. The opening reception was a large back-porch-style hangout (which is my natural state of being during Texas summers), and was quiet enough that I spent time excitedly reuniting with my AV tribe. I had amazing crab cakes, steak, and three-day-old pizza. I stumbled upon a speakeasy somewhere within the convention center and was a guest on a few podcasts. There were countless #AVselfies, a digital CTS map and collage, colorful socks, branded mugs and hot coffee at the first ever in-person #AVintheAM, and some other shenanigans that I’ll save for another time.
I am convinced we have the best industry because we have the best people, and I met so many more wonderful folks that are now new friends and allies this week. Please keep in touch, don’t forget to @ me on Twitter, and always find the joy that comes from doing good work with friends.