Whether you go to InfoComm or not, I’m for you
Before I begin, a few ground rules. First, this is my opinion not that of AVNation nor Conference Technologies. Second, as of this writing, the current safety protocols for InfoComm require you to provide a negative COVID test within 5 days of attending and wearing a mask on the show floor. You can also provide proof of vaccination if you don’t want to take the test.
I am, indeed, looking forward to InfoComm 2021. It has been almost two years since the AV industry has gotten together in any real, significant way. The makeup of this year’s InfoComm will be different than in year’s past, but still worth the trip.
My personal belief is the concentration of tech managers and in-house staff will be higher than in years past. In 2019 that demographic made up about 30 percent of the audience. My estimation is that will rise well above 50 percent and maybe even above 60. As the new CMO of CTI, that’s great for me as we get more facetime with our customer base. It is also good news for the AVNation side of the business as we look to create an online forum for those very customers in Fuse by AVNation.
Other’s thoughts on InfoComm 2021
Kimberly Lancaster from Caster Communications penned a blog post after CEDIA. CEDIA Expo this year had an attendance of about 10% of their last few years (1,500 as opposed to 15,000). Those who didn’t attend “missed an opportunity”. This is because as much as CEDIA wasn’t a typical technology show, the networking was remarkable. Every interview AVNation did exhibitors said they had come away from Indianapolis with new business. For them, the ROI was there. For others, obviously, they didn’t feel the same.
Bradford Benn also wrote thoughts on the InfoComm show. Bradford has been in and around the industry for decades, has worked the booth as an exhibitor, and lives in Orlando. So, he might be something of an expert here. Bradford employs a COVID calculator to assess the risk of InfoComm attendees contracting COVID with and without the vaccine. If you don’t want to read through Bradford’s entire article I’ll get to the point. “Assuming InfoComm has 26,802 attendees in theory two people would become infected if they are vaccinated… if not it’s a one in eight chance of becoming infected.” Now, they will most likely not have 26,000 attendees but far fewer. Even so, knowing the risks going in is crucial to well informed decision.
From our friends at Control Concepts, Tammy Fuqua put down her reasons for Attending InfoComm in October. Tammy has been in the industry for a number of years. Fuqua has worked for manufacturers as well as service providers like Control Concepts. Tammy lists include networking, spending more time with smaller booths, and attending the AVIXA Women’s Breakfast. One quote caught me by surprise. Tammy said she “owes it to InfoComm” to attend. To hear Fuqua tell it, attending is showing support to the show, and the industry, that has given her so much. Fuqua believes “it will be a worthwhile investment.” Since I started writing this, good friend, host of A State of Control, and owner of Control Concepts Steve Greenblatt has also put his thoughts down as to why InfoComm 2021 is valuable.
According to Covid Act Now, 70% of Orange County, Florida residents have at least one dose of the vaccine. COVID cases, deaths, and hospitalizations have all fallen over the last 60 days. The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) has mandated all their employees get vaccinated. The OCCC has held over 100 events in the past year. According to the OCCC and Orange County Health Department there have been fewer than 100 confirmed cases of attendees contracting COVID. In August, at the height of the Delta variant wave, Lollapalooza took place in Chicago, Illinois with 203 confirmed cases out of 100,000 attendees. Now, I am a fan of the AV industry, but I don’t think InfoComm is going to garner that kind of attendance.
As CMO of CTI and the head of the AVNation media outlet, I am responsible for my team. That is why each of them has the option of not attending if they don’t want to. No questions. They don’t feel comfortable, they don’t go. I have two who have opted out. I have no issues going to Orlando. Should you? I don’t know. It isn’t my place to say. It’s also no one else’s either, save your family. I mention that because you must take care of those around you; especially those most at risk. This could mean reducing travel, large populated events, or other activities if you or a close loved one is at risk.
Yes, I’ll be at InfoComm 2021 in Orlando from October 27 through 29. You can find me on Tuesday moderating a panel on Conference Room Audio. AVNation, AVNation FUSE, and CTI are also hosting parties Tuesday through Thursday. You can register here for the Tweetup and here for the CTI Tech on Tap. If you’re going to be at InfoComm, look me up. If you’re not, you can follow along as AVNation covers all we can from the show floor. And, I’ll see you at another event in 2022.
Watch my interview with AVIXA CEO Dave Labuskes on his decision to continue to hold InfoComm 2021