An InfoComm 2016 Preview

As a large contingent of the North American AV community gets ready for their annual trade show, let’s pause for a moment to look back, and a bit ahead.

The last few years of InfoComm shows have seen advances for the economic health of the industry but also stagnation in technological growth. The InfoComm show attendance has continued to grow over the previous years, a metric we can objectively compare year over year. What has made this remarkable is, historically, the Las Vegas shows have seen higher attendance numbers in general. Meaning, one year the attendance would be up, then the Orlando year the attendance would be down, and the cycle would repeat.

Three years ago this changed. InfoComm 2013 was the first time the Orlando show had an increase in attendance over the previous year. Then Vegas showed growth, then Orlando last year, to where the North American show is expected top 40,000 attendees this year.

The reason attendance matters is that it is a sign of overall industry health. If manufacturers feel confident about where they are financially they will tend to exhibit and bring more people. When integrators are optimistic and flush with the resources they will bring their employees to the show. Trade show travel is not inexpensive so it is one of the first areas where companies can look when cutting budgets. The fact that show attendance has grown is a good sign.

In the area of technology, though, the InfoComm show has not been much of an exhibition of advances. One of our contributors used the phrase “incremental changes”. That seems to have been the theme the last three or four InfoComm shows. There have been occasional glimpses of hope, but as an overall show, not so much.

This year will be different. You can see my entire list of predictions in Commercial Integrator. There have already been announcements by companies like Atlona, audio companies are getting into video, there’s a chip manufacturer making some waves in 4K over twisted pair, and even rumors of a new AV control system. So, I’m going to go out on a pretty safe limb and say this InfoComm will be one to remember for a number of advances in technology, new innovations, and great new products.

If you’re going to InfoComm, make sure to see all you can. If you are not, however, you will be well served by the various publications and your fellow AVTweeps. Keep an eye on social media (including SnapChat) and it will almost be like you were there, without the 110 degree weather.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week and if you’re at the show be sure to drop by the AVNation booth (N2821) and say hi to myself and the rest of the team.

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