Takeaways and AHA! Moments from InfoComm19
The week after InfoComm will always be bittersweet for me. While I enjoy the energy, excitement, engagement, and activity of the week, I also feel a mix of excitement, exhaustion, over-stimulation, disappointment, and reflection when it is over. As with any big event, all of the planning, the hype, the anticipation, the hard work, and the recovery book-ending the participation time is far greater than the actual opportunity for involvement and enjoyment. There is always a desire for more time to have conversations, walk the floor, attend education sessions, experience events, and hang out with friends.
Nevertheless, InfoComm always provides great opportunities to invest in the AV community, make connections, identify opportunities, build and reaffirm relationships, and gain industry knowledge.
During the time it takes me to decompress and transition back to my normal routine, I start to recall details of conversations, presentations, and experiences that point to a small group of common themes as my takeaways or AHA! moments.
Here’s what has come to the forefront for me this year:
More Solutions and Less Equipment
Coinciding with the integrated experience movement that is an integral part of AVIXA’s name, the theme of delivering an experience rather than selling technology was a prominent part of many presentations, discussions, and marketing messages. With the growth of more local Experience Centers, it should not be a surprise that manufacturers focused on showing how their products address needs and offer solutions rather than trumpeting their features and technical specifications.
Furthering this idea, the importance of partnerships and interoperability was promoted by many exhibitors. As indicated by the wall of logos in their booths, manufacturers and software providers are showcasing more ways in which they work with complementary partners and the importance of making their products compatible with others to provide a user experience and solution of greater value for the industry.
At Control Concepts, we see the same value in promoting our partnerships and solutions to help manufacturers’ products be easier to integrate and program through module and driver development for various control platforms. To showcase these relationships, we recently launched our Manufacturer Partners section on our website. Please check it out and let us know what you think.
The Importance of People and Community
Despite the fewer number of head-turning technology advancements, InfoComm continues to be a mecca for AV professionals to connect, network, and build relationships. Spending time with business associates, clients, partners, and friends continues to be a highly sought after benefit of InfoComm attendance. And, this year it seemed significantly meaningful.
Keeping with the adage that you do business with those that you know, like, and trust, the opportunity for face time with your AV tribe at InfoComm goes a long way toward solidifying relationships, connecting on a personal level, and overcoming obstacles to develop business. The power of in-person connections leads to lasting, valued relationships both professionally and personally.
While this is one of the biggest benefits of a trade show for me and many others, these interactions shouldn’t be limited to once a year encounters at InfoComm. There are many opportunities to continue the engagement online through social media channels on LinkedIn, Twitter (see #AVTweeps, #AVinTheAM), Facebook groups, and Instagram as well as by keeping up with specialty podcasts on AVNation, rAVe, Convergent AV, and others.
Another opportunity to continue the dialog is by planning to connect at annual industry events such as AVIXA’s AV Executive Conference, NSCA’s Business and Leadership Conference, SCN IT/AV Summit, Total Tech Summit, and other large trade shows or local roadshows. Control Concepts is a regular participant that these events and others throughout the year. They are a great way to participate in the community, learn, and keep informed of industry news and trends.
Emphasis on Software
As more and more products are programmable, configurable, or software-based, the value of a relationship with a programmer, software developer, or control system professional is becoming more critical. With designs being less hardware dependent and a greater emphasis on scalable solutions, it is critical to take a planned approach to delivering a comprehensive, consistent model with plans for ongoing maintenance, management, and provisions for growth.
Unlike previous years where the ‘No Programming Required’ messaging was proudly and prominently displayed by many exhibitors, the discussions of using software to connect more devices and systems through APIs and offer greater value gained more momentum this year. Additionally, the use of software-based systems to evaluate analytics and address support needs through predictive or preventative maintenance was another hot topic.
Software is much more flexible to maintain and upgrade than hardware and, if handled well, allows the longevity of systems to be extended. Therefore, it is important to undergo a proper planning consult with an experienced control system expert to define an optimal approach to your needs or the needs of your client.
In addition to delivering control system programming and software solutions, Control Concepts is now available for consultation, planning, education, and development of building blocks to help programmers broaden their skill set, maximize their productivity, and build a foundation for enterprise level solutions. This is a new offering resulting from discussions at InfoComm. Contact us to learn more.
Without a doubt, InfoComm was a hit and the items mentions were a few of bigger highlights and AHA! moments. What is common to all is the realization of change. The AV industry is evolving at greater pace each year. Those that are open-minded, participate industry events, invest in themselves, and contribute in the AV community will likely remain ahead of the curve. And, as they say, “if you are not growing, you are dying.”