InfoComm 2017 Delivers on Many Fronts

Our Control Concepts members, newcomers and veterans, came away from InfoComm 2017 with their own perspectives of the event. They share their thoughts on its unique value for them and how it met their expectations.

First-timers Senior Systems Engineers Brad Case and Joe Volpe thought they were prepared for the event’s size, scope and attendees’ expertise.

Brad acknowledges, “Being the first InfoComm for me, it was mostly what I expected except it was hard to appreciate the scale until I got there.”

“There was a great amount of diversity among the presenting companies,” says Joe.

Customer Relationship Manager Dayna Baumann was surprised to learn of a large end user presence at the show, which she estimated at 40 percent. “In analyzing this shift, it reflects what we’ve seen at other industry events,” she says. “Technology managers are getting more directly involved in AV projects and need to be better educated about products and trends.”

Trying to take it all in, the team’s schedule was non-stop.

“We were engaged and interacted with many attendees and exhibitors while covering a lot of ground each day,” notes Steve Greenblatt, president and founder. “Our approach was comprehensive including floor time during the day and social activities at night. We connected with a lot of manufacturers regarding software development opportunities, and networked with a lot of friends in the industry.”

Even with a track record of 22 years of shows, Steve would like it to run longer. “It’s always a challenge for me with back-to-back appointments, participating in booth interviews and podcasts with AVNation, and sometimes longer than expected meetings, to explore the show floor and attend learning opportunities,” he explains. “I would appreciate more time, possibly a fourth show day, to have more time to casually visit manufacturers’ booths, check out what others recommend, and network more with attendees.”

More Innovations Anticipated

The major players in the space showcased their new products as anticipated. “Crestron had NVX, Barco displayed a new ClickShare, and a signage processor, and Harman pushed a tighter integration between its product lines,” notes Trevor Payne, senior systems engineer.

Brad and Trevor hoped for a little more innovation from the manufacturers’ exhibits.

“My expectations fell short in that there were no new tech roll-outs that I saw,” says Brad. “The show contained very cool stuff but nothing I hadn’t seen before.”

Trevor also envisioned more product launches. “I felt that this InfoComm was more of a ‘Tock’ on the ‘Tick, Tock’ of product development, with a ‘Tick’ being innovation, and a ‘Tock’ being iterative change.  Iterative change can be innovation in its own right, but I didn’t see much of it this year.”

Future Opportunities and Changes

Show presentations and conversations confirmed the AV industry is evolving.

“The most useful information I gained was the message that the programming and control side of the industry is changing rapidly,” says Brad. “For years one could maintain a comfortable amount of work just knowing Crestron or AMX programming. Now that industry-wide workload is contracting with the shift toward smaller huddle spaces where a configuration only system will suffice. Specialized software development is the future for programmers in this industry.”

Joe points out as the industry matures, it shifts toward standard rooms, simpler deployments, module development, and monitoring.

Trevor agrees software and programming companies need to innovate and do more than one thing well. “Diversification is necessary if you wish to continue to make money in the programming space.You can’t just do boiler plate conference rooms from here on out and expect to keep food on the proverbial table.Tighter relationships with end users and manufacturers are important to support their platforms and workflows, and a greater knowledge of tools and languages will be necessary in the future.”

Steve says there’s a push for standardization as technology managers often deal with a hundred existing systems with different control systems and varying levels of functionality. Along with the challenges of maintaining those disparate systems, technology managers want to provide consistency of service for the end users.

“The need to have enterprise-wide solutions to simplify the acquisition process, minimize variables, provide more cost-effective solutions, offer more predictable outcomes, and provide more value for end user clients is key for the future sustainability of service providers,” he predicts.

In addition to better serving enterprises, our team noted there’s significant interest in resource monitoring solutions. Stay tuned, that’s the topic of our next blog.