Can InfoComm's New Conference Make Your Business Futureproof?

Homework. The word triggers some apprehension, even among those who finished school ages ago. But for some overachievers, the idea of homework also prompts memories of “extra credit” and gold stars.

Homework is just that little bit extra that has to be done after a day’s studies. Its purpose is to reinforce what was learned and prepare students for what’s ahead.

That might be a good way to describe the modus operandi of InfoComm’s AV Executive Conference, which launches September 10-12 at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island, FL. By day, attendees will take part in Masters Classes, and before the evening activities commence, they’ll be participating in “Homework Express” sessions with a focus on developing a 30-, 60-, and 90-day plan for their business.

“This is a higher-level thinking that we're going to ask you to do,” explained Duffy Wilbert, senior vice president of member services at InfoComm and organizer of the event along with a Conference Committee of AV industry leaders. “Business owners are looking for the new ways that they have to talk to the customer and adapt their business model so in three, four, five years from now they're just as viable as they are today.”

With the technological, economic, and sociological changes occurring in the AV industry and across the business landscape, he elaborated, the AV industry’s customer base is changing, and subsequently consulting and integration businesses need to adapt. At InfoComm’s Regional Roundtable events and trade shows, Wilbert said, the questions about how to market and sell in what is known as “the new normal” arise consistently.

“Everybody's seeing it, hearing it, feeling it, and they want to take action,” he noted. “But one of the challenges though in any business is that wanting to do strategic planning and adapt is one thing, but too often it’s easy to get tied up in day-to-day business. That’s something we’re emphasizing with this conference—it's time to take time.”

In order to facilitate long-term planning efforts within the event structure, InfoComm has established a workshop format. Led by David Nour of the Nour Group, expert speakers will provide an overview of the steps necessary for change and then facilitate group work and discussions to manifest that knowledge right there on the spot.

The next challenge is follow-through, Wilbert indicated. It’s easy to go back to the office and resume the norm. But there again, InfoComm AV Executive Conference planners have been strategic in their own right. In order to support attendees’ implementation of their individual 30-, 60-, and 90-day plans, InfoComm has set up a series of webinars with David Nour to coincide with those timelines.

“David Nour will be checking in, saying here's where you should be, how are you doing?” Wilbert explained. “We’re going to carry the conversation forward so when you get back to office and focus on the day to day, we're going to come back and remind you of your goals.”

The InfoComm AV Executive Conference Committee is comprised of some well known industry figures, including Ron Camden of Biamp, Jay Rogina of Spinitar, Chris Miller of PSNI, Julian Phillips of Whitlock, and Seth Rubenstein of Seth Rubenstein, LLC. The “professors” who will be evaluating the homework include Nour and a team of other business prognosticators who will present research and case studies to elicit change in business thinking. Les McKeown will bring his insights into the seven stages of “Predictable Success”, and Everett Hill from Catalytic Advisors will discuss strategic customer relationships.

Speaking about change in today’s business climate, one would be remiss not to address the two words on everybody’s mind: social media. But just what and how we should be incorporating various platforms into our daily business regimen is somewhat of a mystery. As such, throughout the AV Excutive Conference, attendees will have a chance to visit the Digital Expert Bar, facilitated by Nhat Pham of Successwerks. Once again, practical application is emphasized, with hands-on work pertaining to everything from LinkedIn to Twitter profiles.

Kirsten Nelson is a freelance content producer who translates the expertise and passion of technologists into the vernacular of an audience curious about their creations. Nelson has written about audio and video technology in all its permutations for almost 20 years; she was the editor of SCN for 17 years. Her experience in the commercial AV and acoustics design and integration market has also led her to develop presentation programs and events for AVIXA and SCN, deliver keynote speeches, and moderate and participate in panel discussions. In addition to technology, she also writes about motorcycles—she is a MotoGP super fan.