This is a question I have been asked, and have asked, since Friday afternoon. Let’s take a look.
A number of companies entered into new areas of the AV market during InfoComm 2016. Biamp has gotten into video, Crestron has an audio DSP, QSC is in video, and Kramer has a new control system. This is one of the great things about last week. The diversity in the AV industry is astounding. With so many smart people developing for their respective companies you are bound to find a solution that works nearly perfectly for you and your installation.
On the other side of that coin, why aren’t companies focusing on what they do to make that better? Do we really need a Crestron DSP when there are so many others out there? What of Biamp’s video solution? The idea of a company focusing on their core competencies is something I have said and written about before. I have learned that I am wrong. In some cases, the right mix of talent will produce some really great products you didn’t know you needed. Sitting here the weekend after I can tout all the great specs we were thrown last week. I will say now what I said to each of these companies; let me see it in the field. Let’s take the time to talk with end users that have experience using Kramer control, Harman, Dante, or other new solutions.
From a pure numbers standpoint, it was the show was a toss-up. InfoComm 2016 was slightly down from their 2015 numbers. We do need to remember that the show is split between two different locations. Last year it was in Orlando. Comparing Vegas shows the numbers are up slightly, about 4%. It does stop a 4-year growth trend the show had enjoyed since the recession. What does this mean? It’s too early to tell. The numbers of who came and why will tell that story.
For AVNation there is a two-part story as well. As a media company our InfoComm Shows are split into the content we create and the connections we are able to make and sustain.
The content part, I think, was spot on. The integrators and consultants who make up our team were able to create some great videos, ask the questions you would ask if you were there, and overall gave great insight on what this or that product can do in the real world. That’s what having a team of working AV professionals will get you. Our podcasts and daily wrap-ups were well done, and our booth had a great video wall thanks to Primeview, Chief, Vizrt, and Harman. The fourth annual AVNation Tweetup was a great success and AVWeek came off live from the show floor.
The connection part of our story is still being written. One of the reasons we go to InfoComm is to connect with a new audience who may not have heard of us. If we did a good job of telling them why we do what we do then we will have gained another member of the AVNation. In addition, we go to connect with new underwriters. We love our underwriters but we have some audacious goals for the next year and beyond. That will require more underwriters to come on board. We will see if those connections equate to new relationships.
Overall, was InfoComm 2016 a good show? Yes, by all accounts it was. InfoComm International pulled off some great education, parties, and connection points. Two of our very own, Josh Srago and Kelly Perkins, were awarded the Young AV Professional award. There were new technologies from mainstays and new companies, plus a new class of those acquiring CTS, CTS-D, and CTS-I’s at the show. It was a really good show and I’m looking forward to next year already.