A quick answer is, it’s the new name and identity of the audio visual association formerly known as InfoComm International. AVIXA (the audiovisual and integrated experience association) formally came to be September 13, 2017.
At 9 in the morning, I sat in an auditorium surrounded by audio visual press colleagues from around the world. London to Singapore. New York to, well, St. Louis. InfoComm board president Gary Hall took the stage and relayed his journey through InfoComm; retelling his travels through education, instruction, and volunteering.
Then InfoComm CEO Dave Labuskes was introduced. He began talking about how far the industry has come. “Once upon a time”, he began. And, as he says, when you start with once upon a time you can take the story wherever you want to go. They did.
In announcing a new name for a trade association that started as a group of film projector manufacturers looking to sell more stock, the board, leadership team, and Labuskes is not really charting new territory but following a path already laid out. ICIA (International Communications Industry Association) was what InfoComm was called before. It has gone through three name changes by my count, but I could have forgotten one. So, this is not new.
The entire journey began almost two years ago with a new strategic plan and an honest look at where the industry is, where it is headed, and who should be involved. In early 2016, the idea of a name change began to come up in InfoComm board meetings.
“Changing your name is the last thing you should do”, AVIXA CEO Dave Labuskes said. “As the conversation happened with the board it became clear this was the direction we needed to go.”
With the move to AVIXA (and just for the record I’ve written InfoComm and deleted it more in this piece than I care to admit) the organization is courting integrators, manufacturers, technology managers, and those they feel add to the exceptional AV experience.
“If a graphic designer makes content I think they should find relevance in AVIXA”, says Labuskes. “If we are to deliver on that promise, we need to have all the participants.”
As the announcement was made through various publications and on social media the reaction was mixed. Some saw it as a natural progression, others were not as thrilled with either the name, the logo or both. Labuskes would argue that this change and move toward a more divergent membership is about the integrators relevancy.
“It is absolutely about the survival of integrators. We either evolve or we die. The definitions of value from 1989 to 2017 have changed. If you keep trying to sell what people used to buy you’re going to fail.”
The shows named InfoComm will still be branded as such. There is already great brand value in those shows. Co-owned or co-branded shows such as Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) will be labeled as an AVIXA owned show.
The logo was referred to as a “window” by Dan Goldstein, AVIXA director of marketing. In it, you will see a stylized A and V. “AV is still at the heart of what AVIXA stands for”, according to Goldstein.
What this means for the rank and file members of InfoComm, now AVIXA is still to be seen. On the face, it seems like a win as it will incorporate those professionals who may not consider themselves AV professionals but certainly belong to the fold as they have a significant impact on the exceptional experiences all AV integrators are striving for. The association will also be rolling out new membership programs for the industry which will be announced at a later date.
Yes, it will take a while to stop referring to the organization as InfoComm. Especially since you’ll still be attending the InfoComm show in June. The name, the logo, the colors, and the programs, though, should at least spark interest and conversation among your employees and even your customers. As AVIXA gets off the ground, it will bear watching as they make their way into new areas, gathering new members, while at the same time supporting their existing base.