After 3 long years, InfoComm finally returned as the Pro AV industry descended upon the Las Vegas Convention Center June 8th through the 10th. Having experienced a cancellation in 2020 and a scaled-back version in 2021, you could instantly feel the excitement surrounding the show and the joy of being around colleagues again in-person. Although the temperatures outside routinely reached 110+ degrees, the buzz inside of the Convention Center was far hotter! To add to this excitement, this event marked the official launch of the new Exertis Almo Pro AV, as the two companies have integrated into one. We have traded our Almo blue shirts in exchange for Exertis Almo red, and dare I say, our booth could be seen from one side of the North Hall to the other. Never been to InfoComm before? Allow me to describe why it remains a must-see industry event for Pro AV.
The week started off very quickly with the Exertis Almo-sponsored Opening Reception on Tuesday evening, which was held at the Hard Rock Café. Complete with cigar rolling, giveaways, and our always-famous Bourbon and Bacon tasting, the evening was definitely the kick-off to the entire show! We had multiple vendor sponsors in attendance, including Samsung, Legrand, LG, Sharp NEC, Absen, BrightSign, Yamaha, Epson, and Jabra, along with a bustling crowd of customers so large that wait times grew just to get in! Later in the week, a vendor informed me that he overheard people in the elevator talking about how excited they were to attend, so it sounds like our marketing team knocked it out of the park, as usual!
Fast-forward to the opening of the trade show floor. The expo ran from the 8th through the 10th, and all 3 days offered the kind of value that you can only find at InfoComm. When walking in for our morning booth tour, you immediately noticed the registration line wrapping around corners, and attendees were excited to be out amongst their colleagues and partners. Remember how I said our booth could be seen from one end to the next? Well, when your logo is bright red and your booth is multiple stories, it definitely stands out! Featuring multiple private meeting spaces as well as several featured vendors and additional meeting tables on the show floor, the Exertis Almo booth had something for everyone. You cannot attend an AV event without featuring a little “A” and a little “V”. To help achieve this, we had displays from Samsung, Sony, Absen, LG, and Avocor, along with various audio solutions
from Yamaha UC, Nureva, Jabra, and others, all present in our booth demoing the latest and greatest in their product lineups. In fact, several other vendors made sure to come by to visit and offer their feedback on the impressive attendance at our booth. What really differentiated us from others was very clear – our team. Quite frankly, the sight of 25+ red shirts was impressive, but once you realize that our team came from throughout the US, Canada, and even Europe, it showed just how powerful the new Exertis Almo will be moving forward.
The crux of any InfoComm has always been the meetings. Getting to sit face-to-face with customers, vendors, rep firms, end users, or even colleagues of past and present offers the most value for any attendee. You cannot normally find all of these folks under one roof, so it’s always imperative to take advantage of everyone’s presence. My meetings certainly fell into this spectrum, and each one provided me the chance to either learn or educate. One minute I was sitting with a customer from the northeast, describing our service offerings to uncover new opportunities, and the next minute I was walking through the West Hall, meeting with the VP of Audio from Harman Professional Solutions and learning about their strategy for the next few years. The ability to have these varying level of discussions will always be beneficial to all attendees.
Not to be outdone, we have to talk about the products and technology. After all, it is a technology showcase, right? Any chance you have to get up close and personal should always be seized, because that is how the real learning is done! You can attend launch calls, webinars, and multiple PowerPoint Zooms, OR you can stand in a demo room while an audio engineer demonstrates why their product outshines the rest, all while cranking the volume to 10. Talk about an “a-ha moment”! Not only were there two halls filled with vendors, but there were also multiple private demo rooms dedicated to some of the best in the audio field. Harman’s space was filled with AMX collaboration tools, installed audio products like ceiling speakers and amplifiers, as well as a small showcase of their latest product introductions. However, the real eye catcher was the large truss at the front of the room, containing the new SRX900 series powered arrays. This new product has been very well-received since its recent launch, so to see it and experience it live was definitely a perk of the week. Other impressive booths I saw were from Legrand, BrightSign, Sharp NEC, and Panasonic. While I wasn’t able to dive too deeply into each, you could tell there was a great deal of planning that went into the designs of each booth, on top of the products being featured.
I love about product discussions at InfoComm happen organically. These aren’t your typical trade-show-level sales pitches where the vendor is trying to close a deal. This is someone who is there to educate you on what their products with a legitimate interest in you receiving value. I experienced this personally with Tom Roberts, Channel Manager from Jabra. Tom spent the week in the Exertis Almo booth, and as crowds started to wind down on Thursday, I approached him to strike up a conversation about their consumer products with which I was familiar. By the time we were done with the 35-minute talk, I had learned more about their line of conferencing cameras, like the Panacast and Panacast 50, than I had previously known. That is where the value lies!
And of course, we can’t forget the parties! The opening reception was only the tip of the iceberg to the Peerless AV–sponsored “Glow Up the Night” party on Wednesday. Held at the Zouk Night Club, the preferred attire was bright colors which matched the venue’s bright lights and glow-sticks, necklaces, and more. Exertis Almo had their own private VIP section, and the night lived up to all expectations amongst the attendees! While I will be the first to admit I am no longer the “late nighter” I used to be, everyone who closed the party down certainly didn’t regret a thing. Everyone had a tremendous time indeed.
If you aren’t already impressed by all that InfoComm has to
offer, I saved the best for last. As the now-combined Exertis Almo Pro AV, our team took home the rAVe award for Favorite Distributor for a 10th consecutive year…YES, I said 10th! When we say Best in Class, we mean it! For all the work our collective teams do day-in and day-out, this was the icing on the cake.
After traveling to Las Vegas for my 10th time and attending my 3rd InfoComm, this one was the best. The past couple of years were certainly a challenge, but the second you step off the plane and see the InfoComm banner hanging in the airport, you know you are ready for the exciting events to come! I look forward to InfoComm 2023 in Orlando, FL, and hope to see even more first-timers attending the experience!