Not in my lifetime have I been a big fan of Las Vegas. This June I never missed it more. (I’m one of those rare birds that have only been to Vegas to attend InfoComm.) I’m not a gambler. I don’t party late into the night (any more). I live in Florida, so it’s really hard to justify paying for access to a hotel pool party – I do that pretty much every weekend all year long!

The list could probably go on and on (I won’t blame the Vegas heat, though.  I love the heat).

I was going to do Vegas right this year!  I’d planned to extend my stay after helping with the booth tear-down and stay another night or two so I could experience the ever-famous Strip with my Almo friends.  I wanted to stay out LATE!  I was going to dance and sip colorful cocktails and laugh, and blow on dice for whoever was throwing!

Thanks to the worldwide pandemic we’re all so sick of hearing about, I never even got the opportunity to book my flight.  So I spent the week at home like the rest of us, attending the virtual event that had some incredible content, but none of the smiles and hugs I took for granted in years past.

Early on in 2020 I put together a loose calendar for the Almo Blog.  It takes some effort managing multiple contributors, you know, and I had planned to pen the “InfoComm Social Butterfly of 2020”.  The booth tours, the dinners, the happy hours, the after-hours… even though I’m not a night owl I love it.  I enjoy the networking with our vendor partners, the interaction and introductions with our customers and end-users.  It’s invigorating! 

It was definitely different this year.  The InfoComm we know became a virtual infocomm CONNECTED, thanks to the world we are living in.  (NOTE… you can still check out the virtual replay until August 21!)

Obviously AVIXA and the industry made the right call.  We have to protect ourselves and our loved ones.  I know I’m not alone, though, when I say I really, REALLY missed InfoComm and Las Vegas this year. 

So, my “InfoComm Social Butterfly” blog post feels more like a Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me post.  I did manage, however, to find one social highlight.  Normally at InfoComm I attend a happy hour networking event organized by the USAV group.  At the end of the week they hosted a “Coffee and Cocktails” virtual happy hour on ZOOM.  Certainly new to us all, but a way to connect just the same.

Oh, thank goodness for Zoom!  Just 30 minutes, but I met some new people and got to virtually “cheers” some old friends.

Zoom is no substitute for in-person events, but I’ll take all I can get these days.  Thankfully we have Zoom and other platforms that enable us to have face-to-face interactions when we can’t be in-person.  I’m so grateful for that. 

If I didn’t work at Almo, surely I’d have heard about ZOOM thanks to the pandemic, but like my parents and countless others, I’d have had to adopt it and learn how to use it.  The silver lining is the window has been thrown wide open, and businesses and organizations everywhere are open to incorporating this technology into their daily operations.  Almo has experts on-staff who can help our customers offer Zoom Rooms to end-users with bundles that include the hardware and the license for a complete solution with multiple options for different sized huddle and conference rooms.

We all can’t help but reexamine how we do business and how we can learn from this experience and save ourselves time and money when we are living that “new normal” we keep waiting for. 

I wish we’d have been able to connect last week, and I’m (not so) patiently waiting for whenever it’s safe to return to in-person conferences and meetings, though they’ll certainly be different.

Whatever our “new normal” is, I’m ready for it.

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