The Manufacturers' Must-See Guide to InfoComm 2018 - AvNetwork.com
Your Guide to Trends, Classes, and Attractions

Get ready, North America: Once again, this year’s InfoComm show is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet, with 1,000-plus exhibitors, an expected 46,000 attendees, and all of the best technology the world has to offer.

“I think all the things the industry knows and loves about InfoComm will be there in spades,” said Jason McGraw, senior vice president of expositions at AVIXA. “It’s going to be another exciting show this year; it will be another record-breaker for us.”

Among the most exciting additions to the show this year, according to McGraw, is the Integrated Life Program, organized in partnership with Parks Associates. A one-day conference program that’s part of a seminar and workshop package on Tuesday, June 5, it will feature a lineup of speakers on the crossover of smart homes and smart buildings, covering topics such as voice and AI.

Speaking of the Tuesday before the show, last year’s popular new events—Emerging Trends Day and the TIDE Conference—are back again. Due to the overwhelming interest in the former last year, it’s being moved next door to the Westgate, as are most of the show’s content sessions. TIDE will take place at the Park MGM (formerly the Monte Carlo), and will explore the theme of the “Human Design Experience.”

“We’re using every meeting room we could get in the North and Central Halls, plus all the meeting space in the Westgate,” McGraw says. “So we have a lot of capability this year to accommodate the people who want to attend the programs.”

That’s good news, because there are a lot of them: The show’s seminar workshop program covers four days, Tuesday through Friday, and one ticket gives attendees access to more than 200 sessions throughout the course of the convention.

In addition to classes, there’s an expanded slate of offsite technology tours, including behind-the-scenes looks at Cirque du Soleil shows and a new building at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

New on the show floor this year is a novel social experience in partnership with Montreal-based firm C2, located coincidentally in Hall C2. Here, attendees can talk with one another in unusual settings, including in a pitch-black room and in chairs suspended 15 feet in the air.

Returning to the show floor from last year are Center Stage, with TED-style talks that will run throughout the show in the North Hall, and InfoComm Park in Hall C, where people can take a break and let their newly acquired knowledge germinate.

To get you ready for the show, we’ve asked InfoComm 2018 exhibitors about the technologies, trends, and events they’re excited to see.

Mark Tracy, VP of Marketing at Middle Atlantic Products

Mark Tracy

Mark Tracy

I'm interested to see the evolution of the technology that makes our AV systems more accessible and user friendly to more people. Whether it's a focus on ergonomics, like the sit-to-stand trend that helps educators connect with students, or on ADA-compliant solutions that make collaboration technology accessible to everyone, I'm interested to see how the industry is solving the challenges that will lead to more accessible AV systems, enabling better communication and collaboration.

I'm also looking to learn more about the technologies that enable the managed services trend—especially as it relates to how sensors and IoT devices, like IP-enabled power, can provide the foundation for remote monitoring and management. As these services become increasingly more key to ensuring a great AV experience, the technologies that allow integrators to profitably deploy a managed services model become an important piece of the AV ecosystem.

Alison Maxon, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, Absen LED

Alison Maxson

Alison Maxson

I have always looked forward to attending the AVIXA Women’s Council’s InfoComm networking breakfast and meeting the wonderful women that are in the AV industry. After each event, I’ve left feeling inspired and impressed by all that is happening for women and by women, and it makes me push myself harder to innovate. This year will be my first breakfast as a member of the AVIXA Women’s Council, and I look forward to becoming more and more involved in the council’s activities.

Earl Naegele, Managing Director, Commercial Sales, Peerless-AV

Earl Naegele

Earl Naegele

I am specifically interested in the new Integrated Life Day conference, as the topics are meant to explore the convergence of enterprise and smart home solutions. Over the years, I have seen more and more of the residential AV professionals move into the commercial market due to advances in connected technology. I’m pleased that AVIXA has recognized this trend and brought these integrators into the commercial fold, welcoming them with open arms. It’s an exciting time to be in the industry—there are not only many incredible innovations available, but so many more to come.

Sam Nord

Sam Nord

Sam Nord, Director of Sales, North America, Listen Technologies

I’m interested in seeing the continued evolution of BYOD solutions in the AV space. I know at Listen Technologies we’ve had many requests for clients to be able to use their own smartphones as receivers for assistive listening. As smart devices continue to become more and more ubiquitous, I’m curious how other manufacturers are finding ways to integrate their solutions into technology that is already being carried around by most people.

I’m also looking forward to seeing the latest in collaboration technology. As someone who spends a great deal of time on the road, finding ways to quickly and easily communicate information with clients and other team members, often in less than ideal circumstances, is always a challenge. Seeing how technology can make this easier is always of interest.

Kevin Schroll, Director of Smart Signage Product Group, Samsung Electronics America

Kevin Schroll

Kevin Schroll

LED continues to become the future of display technology. The pixel pitch of LED video walls continues to become smaller and more precise, creating a smooth, engaging seamless image. Sub-1mm pixel pitch displays are emerging, and Samsung is proud to showcase our new technology at InfoComm.

Dan Shore, Engineering/Product Manager, TOA Electronics

I’m looking forward to seeing a couple of things at InfoComm this year: the “Combining Live Music with Both Physical and Virtual New Media” presentation is a must-see for me because it could have broad applications across a number of markets. Of course, the demo booths are always an important way to keep up with the amazing advances in live audio.

Gary Bailer, Director of Product Planning & Marketing, Sharp

Gary Bailer

Gary Bailer

InfoComm is always a special event as it brings together the pro AV industry and offers unparalleled educational opportunities—which are essential as our industry continues to grow and evolve. Every year we see new breakthroughs in collaboration, communication, and information dissemination—hardware, software, and services continue to evolve, making it easier than ever to sell, install, and deploy into organizations of all sizes and across many vertical markets. At InfoComm 2018, I’m looking forward to seeing and demonstrating this next generation of smart offices, smart signage, and smart education that leverage existing and future IT infrastructure investments.

YT Liang, Product Manager, ATEN Technology

YT Liang

YT Liang

I’m looking forward to seeing the various 4K video-over-IP solutions—more human-centric, economical digital signage solutions are coming to market to help directly address the challenges system integrators encounter when implementing AV-over-IP systems. Providing more installation friendly options for system integrators allows them to easily setup the solution for end users to operate without issue.

Elizabeth Stephan, CTS, Director of Sales and Channel Broadcast AV, Belden

Elizabeth Stephan

Elizabeth Stephan, CTS

There are two key presentations I am looking forward to this year. The first is the discussion around sports venues of tomorrow. As leader of the Belden/Grass Valley global venues team, it is an excellent opportunity to hear industry experts share current and future design ideas—the global nature of the conversation will also be very valuable. The second presentation of interest focuses on broadcast standards and the benefits of HDR, 4K, WCG, etc. This is a topic of conversation Belden customers are having with my sales team on a regular basis. This is going to be another great InfoComm!

Garry Wicka, Head of Marketing, LG Electronics USA Business Solutions

Garry Wicka

Garry Wicka

LG is thrilled to be exhibiting at InfoComm again this year. We’re always excited to demonstrate our newest technologies to attendees both new and returning from across the globe, and the diversity and growing number of attendees at the show is incredible.

This year, we are most looking forward to the TIDE pre-show conference for architects, designers, and consultants. Design and creative direction play such a critical role in the digital signage industry. By sponsoring the TIDE conference, providing unique loyalty programs designed specifically for this demographic such as the LG PRO Design program, and offering innovative business solutions that provide designers entirely new canvases, LG can continue to support these individuals as they continue to revolutionize and elevate the digital signage landscape. We think design will be a big emphasis at this year’s show, and we can’t wait to see everyone there!

John McMahon, Vice President, Solutions and Strategy, Meyer Sound

John McMahon

John McMahon

At Meyer Sound, we will be closely following developments in AV networking, particularly with AVB-TSN. Although the trend toward AVB seems pretty clear, we will be watching for new product announcements for AVB-enabled audio products such as microphones, wireless receivers, and mixing consoles that would be compatible with our own AVB-enabled systems. We will also be looking for any new developments in video applications for AVB, as well as for new AVB-capable switches, which we expect to become much more commonplace and affordable in the coming months.

Samuel Racine

Samuel Recine

Samuel Recine, Director of Sales—Americas Asia Pacific, Matrox

Last year, it was decisively clear that AV extension and switching are moving towards IP. But the market was then flooded by proprietary product marketing and very high-bit-rate offerings, both of which amounted to little more than a repeat of HDBaseT—new versions of old-style thinking that required hardwired deployments that have no long-term future. Customers are already being asked to dump their HDBaseT investments to move to IP by the very same vendors who sold them HDBaseT in the first place. Some customers will even make the same mistake a second time with things like SDVoE. What I’m looking most forward to at this year’s show is what the end users are focusing on, including: leveraging existing IP investments; evolution rather than revolution; leveraging smart devices and other well-deployed technologies; cloud services; bridging AV assets between campuses and even between peers; and extending the life of existing AV assets.

Keith Yanke, Senior Director of Product Marketing, NEC Display

Keith Yankee

Keith Yankee

With InfoComm 2018 being the largest Pro AV show in North America, we’re really looking forward to meeting with new and existing NEC Display partners, customers, and colleagues from across the industry—all under one roof. We also love being able to take in the creativity in implementing digital signage technology, as well as checking out the ways that AV pros are using multiple technologies like video, audio, collaboration, and control to enhance the end-user experience. That’s why I’m really looking forward to InfoComm’s new Tech Tours, which give an all-access look at the eye-popping AV experiences that Las Vegas is famous for, led by the AV pros who put them together.

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