Power of the People

After returning from InfoComm, I’m usually exhausted. Producing the Show Daily, touring booth after booth, making new connections, and all the other demands on my time can be tiring. But this year I came back energized, stoked for the rest of 2019.

Why? It wasn’t the new products. While there were some neat innovations on the show floor, from Biamp’s Crowd Mic to the latest LED video walls, there wasn’t, in my humble opinion, anything revolutionary. Exhibitors mostly showcased new iterations of pro AV products—going from 4K to 8K, adding more plug-ins to black boxes, making simpler user interfaces, etc.—or showed off products that were making their U.S. debut, aka products that the industry had already been introduced to at ISE 2019 in Amsterdam.

[The InfoComm 2019 Download]

If the products didn’t get me amped up for the second half of the year, what did? It was the people. Over the years, InfoComm has grown more and more diverse—a great and much needed change. According to AVIXA, more than 40 percent of InfoComm 2019 attendees were under the age of 40. This is great news for an industry that has been vocal about the struggle to bring in new talent. Organizations like the AVIXA Foundation and NSCA Foundation’s Ignite program have been working hard to breathe new life into the pro AV industry, and their efforts are clearly paying off. I had the pleasure of meeting some of these individuals—brought to the show by programs including Integrate Baltimore, The Loop Lab, and EnventU—and it was truly inspiring to meet with young people who are fired up about their potential careers in pro AV.

Diversity—in terms not only of age, but of race, gender, orientation, etc.—was a hot topic with attendees. I was excited to see it openly addressed. From a record number of attendees at the annual AVIXA Women’s Council Breakfast to sessions led by the AVIXA Diversity Council, the industry is putting its best foot forward in terms of addressing the gaps.

Another exciting development was the increased number of people receiving CTS certification at the show: 255 people passed their CTS, CTS-D, or CTS-I exams on-site. The more the industry adapts a common baseline for fundamental pro AV skills, the better off we will be.

[#InfoComm19 Reflections]

And let’s not forget the social events. From bonding with friends at AVroake to networking with AVIXA board members to the annual AV Tweetup, I was blessed to meet with the many integrators, manufacturers, consultants, and end users that I am lucky to call friends.

Megan A. Dutta

Megan A. Dutta is a pro AV industry journalist, and the former content director for Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine, both Future U.S. publications. Dutta previously served as the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV, where she led the company’s marketing and communications department. Dutta is the recipient of AVIXA's 2017 Young AV Professional Award and Women in Consumer Technology's 2018 Woman to Watch Award. Dutta is co-founder of Women of Digital Signage, an organization designed to provide a pathway to promote networking, mentoring, and personal growth.