In the wake of a worldwide pandemic, there are a fair share of critics that think trade shows are no longer necessary. I think the majority of us who attended InfoComm 2021 would respectfully disagree. On the day before the exhibit hall opened, as exhibitors were assembling their booths, David Labuskes, CEO of AVIXA, told me the show floor was a “roomful of hope and anticipation.”
[InfoComm 2021 Stats Show Industry Bouncing Back]
With so many event cancellations over the past year and a half, InfoComm is a win for the AV industry. That success doesn’t exist in a bubble: InfoComm is also an important economic booster for the Orange County Convention Center, as well as the various hospitality and service industries across Orlando, FL. In other words, the show is an important step toward business as usual.
InfoComm 2021 represents the end of an era and the dawn of a new one. Trade shows are going to be different moving forward. How can they not? There are people who still aren’t comfortable with the idea of going to the grocery store, let alone walking a crowded show floor or sitting in an educational seminar. Maybe one day we’ll be closer to the super-sized spectacles of the days before COVID-19, but smaller shows and hybrid educational elements for off-site participants seem a safer bet for the foreseeable future.
Moving past the symbolic victories, though, InfoComm as always represents commerce and opportunity. There are still technologies to test, classes to attend, and deals to be made. Plus, with an admittedly reduced show floor and the absence of some major companies this year, smaller exhibitors had the chance to benefit from better traffic.
It’s not my job to be a cheerleader—my pom-pom skills need work and I doubt I’d look good in the uniform. But I dare say everyone on the InfoComm show floor during that last week in October was a cheerleader for the AV industry. Between all those awkward shake-hands-or-pound-fists-or-bump-elbows exchanges, there are real connections between industry professionals. Hand sanitizer was flowing, but so were conversations. And there were plenty of smiles hidden behind those masks, especially mine.
Welcome back, InfoComm.