This time last year I was a few months into my role as Business Development Manager (“BDM”) here at Almo ProAV. I had spent the previous 6 years with an AV manufacturer, and we thought it would be an interesting opportunity for me to share some of my insights from seeing the Infocomm show through the lens of a distributor. This year would have been my 2nd show as an Almo BDM, and the plan was for me to do another post-show recap. Well, obviously a lot of plans have changed in 2020. The Infocomm show went virtual as a response to COVID-19, and for the first time we got to see how an event of Infocomm’s size and scope would translate into a virtual space. Here are some of my thoughts.
The Amount of options felt overwhelming – In a good way
If there’s one thing that felt like it wasn’t missing from Infocomm this year, it was the quantity and quality of things to do and places to see. I’ve been to 6 of the live shows now, and at each one I always had a bit of FOMO throughout the entire event. With trainings happening upstairs, events happening in booths throughout the day, and with so much space to explore – it’s easy to miss something good. One feels like they have to pick and choose where to spend their time because one cannot possibly see and do everything. With Infocomm Connected, that feeling was still very much present. There were trainings happening pretty much all day, and with overlapping schedules in some cases. I found myself having to build my daily itinerary each morning to make sure that I could get to as much of the content that I was interested in, and that wasn’t even including trying to carve out time to visit presenter’s microsites and more.
It’s very Impressive How Quickly So Many Companies Have Been Able to Adjust
When you think about the wheels that were in motion for AVIXA (and really any company) in Feb 2020 and how those wheels had to be so suddenly turned in a different direction – it’s mind-blowing that there was even a virtual show to begin with. For many, Infocomm planning starts in the fall of the previous year. So to be able to re-direct a show of that scale with that energy and put something together in a few months is truly awe-inspiring. Almo went through a similar experience in coming up with the virtual E4 Evolution show this spring, and I can’t say enough for how hard everyone had to work to put that together. I can’t think of any presentation I saw that didn’t have the “current challenges of our COVID-19 world” front and center. New products have been developed, new marketing strategies rolled and new ideas for solving new challenges are ready to go. No one thought we would be here 5 months ago, but none-the-less we’re back to doing what people in AV have always done, which is figure out a way to make it work and make it better.
Nothing Beats the Real Thing
For all of the things that Infocomm did well, it still felt like something was missing. This is by no means a knock on the Infocomm Connected, so much as it is a credit to the standard that the Infocomm live events created. There were some fun features, like playing music between presentations and some fun transitions we moved through the day. But for me, nothing beats the lights and the pounding music and the 50 foot LED displays that you get from a traditional Infocomm event. Audio Visual, more than most other industries, exists to provide people with experiences. It’s these experiences that drive the manufacturers in the industry to build the best products. We can all talk about the great things that various products do, but the real magic is in seeing the finished product of a fully built out AV system. This is my way of saying that Infocomm Connected was a tremendous success and it’ll certainly be interesting to see how virtual tradeshows evolve from here….BUT, I’m really looking forward to walking the show floor in 2021, if possible. There’s nothing better.