Reflections of a Pro AV Newbie

Wayne Cavadi, SCN
(Image credit: Future)

It’s hard to believe I’m coming up on my first year as an official part of the Pro AV industry. Much like the industry itself, it was quite the whirlwind of change from Day 1 until now. As a newbie, I’m honestly impressed with how you Pro AV vets keep up.

I transitioned in from the world of sports, and almost immediately had my first assignment…about sports. While sports journalism and Pro AV features are quite different, they both share a common thread: They tell a story. It’s a story about the integrator’s process; a story of the new system at work; a story about product innovations we only saw in movies a decade ago; and a story about the user experience being a better place because of integrators like you.

So, what have I learned after Year 1?

The World Is Hybrid… Until It Isn’t

If Elon Musk has his way, the hybrid world will come crashing down soon enough (opens in new tab), but the evolution from the start of the pandemic up to now is mind blowing. Just when you think you know a device or solution is the best fit, something bigger (or oftentimes more compact) and better comes along. Though it was the brainchild of our content director, Mark J. Pescatore, I was the primary author on the ongoing SCN Hybrid World series of articles, which have been read plenty by our loyal readers.

[UPDATED!!! SCN Hybrid World: Workplace Products and Expert Tips 2022] 

Again, it’s probably old news for integrators, but coming from a job where you sit on the sideline and write about what you see, you don’t really fully comprehend all that goes into setting up the perfect conference room, classroom, or hybrid environment. When the world went to Zoom press conferences after games, you kind of just assumed it was all magically there, this mysterious bubble where all the faces look at each other in mini-boxes and you hear all the quotes you need to make deadline.

Interviewing the experts and breaking down the products—who knew all the considerations required to make it all come together? It was eye opening, but more importantly, educational. And it's a lesson that seems to evolve on a weekly basis.

InfoComm Is Wild

Do you remember your first InfoComm? Well, this was mine, and—I’m guessing much like yours—it was quite the experience. Overwhelming, exciting, informative, enhancing… you can use just about every adjective in the book to describe the experience. The bottom line is no one can prepare you for what it entails. I (kind of) hung out with Michael Jackson at an Exertis Almo event—I certainly didn’t see that coming.

[InfoComm 2022 Impulses: Trends and Technologies We Saw in Las Vegas] (opens in new tab)

Before you even walk in, you’re welcomed by marching bands and a huge LED display showcasing the sights and sounds. A showroom floor that expands into its own Pro AV universe that is bustling with energy and the enthusiastic noise of people happy to see each other again and products on display. Let’s face reality, this was the first full-sized InfoComm since the pandemic. There were a lot of happy people and after-show events to welcome everyone back. And all this on the backdrop of Las Vegas? How does one not get romantic about Pro AV?

The AV/IT Summit

While Mark and AV Technology’s Cindy Davis drove most of the content, I was there, basically, to take it all in. I did that by writing about my biggest takeaways from the one-day affair at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets (opens in new tab).

[5 Takeaways from the AV/IT Summit 2022] (opens in new tab)

While attendees got an up close and personal view of the new technologies from Samsung that are quite possibly reshaping the ballpark experience (right up my alley!), perhaps the best part for me was the people. To put all the faces from esports to hybrid collaboration that contribute thought leadership, expert tips, and even some of The Nine 2022 was as interesting as the panels themselves. What they all have in common is a passion for the industry and a genuine excitement for the future, even though no one really knows exactly where that’s heading. Is it AVoIP and SDVoE? HDBaseT? SMPTE? It took me long enough to figure out what all those acronyms mean, never mind what they mean for the industry in the long term.

Pro AV Is Really Cool

I’m new to the industry, but its not my first career. Heck, it’s not even my second career. But when I get an assignment, it’s sort of like being that proverbial kid in a candy store. You just walk around the venue awestruck and want one of everything you see.

I was able to take a lot of what I know about sports and get some interesting stories out of it. My connections to collegiate sports took me to Lenoir-Rhyne’s football field (opens in new tab) and across the nation with Digital Scoreboards (opens in new tab). I got to go to Wonderland with Alice right here in Atlanta, (opens in new tab) and took a trip down memory lane at a vintage auto museum (opens in new tab). Everywhere I went, I was exposed to something new. But with my sports background, I can relate to the “coolness” of the industry. Why wouldn’t you want to wake up and write about something that is fun?

So, what will Year 2 bring? Well, isn’t that the fun part? We’re not really sure, but we’ll be bringing you fresh stories on everything that comes along.

Wayne Cavadi
Content Manager

Wayne Cavadi is the content manager of Systems Contractor News. Prior to taking a leap into the Pro AV industry, Wayne was a journalist and content lead for Turner Sports, covering the NCAA, PGA, and Major and Minor League Baseball. His work has been featured in a variety of national publications including Bleacher Report, Lindy's Magazine, MLB.com and The Advocate. When not writing, he hosts the DII Nation Podcast, committed to furthering the stories and careers of NCAA Division II student-athletes. Follow his work on Twitter at @WayneCavadi_2 or the SCN mag (opens in new tab) Twitter page.