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05.28.2008 12:00AM
InfoComm, NXTcomm Pair Up in Vegas
LAS VEGAS
For the first time, the annual InfoComm and NXTcomm conferences/trade shows will appear together in Las Vegas. Located side-by-side in the Las Vegas Convention Center, the joint appearance will let delegates discover the latest in A/V technology at InfoComm 08, then see how this content can be distributed via IP-based distribution at NXTcomm08.

“Our two industries, A/V and telecom, are working closely together these days as a result of the convergence between multimedia content and distribution systems,” said Randal A. Lemke, executive director of InfoComm International. “As a result, we are hoping that our A/V delegates will also visit NXTcomm to see the latest from Cisco, Motorola, and all the other big players. In the same vein, we hope to see NXTcomm delegates come to InfoComm to learn about the A/V media that their systems are connecting to.”

“Convergence is a concept that is finding real traction with both the InfoComm and NXTcomm communities,” said Wayne Crawford, executive director of NXTcomm. “This is why it makes sense to bring the two shows together in one location, that people can attend with just one visit to Las Vegas.”


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InfoComm organizers expect more than 900 exhibitors at the three-day event, June 18-20.
The InfoComm and NXTcomm shows may be side-by-side, but they are still being run as independent events and each show’s scheduling is a bit different. NXTcomm starts on June 17 and runs until the 19th. InfoComm opens a day later on June 18, and closes a day later on the 20th. “We’re hoping that this staggered timing will make it easier for InfoComm delegates to come a day earlier to see NXTcomm, and for NXTcomm delegates to stay a day later and see our show,” Lemke said.

InfoComm serves as a scaled-down alternative to the wide-ranging NAB convention—and has become an even bigger draw for the professional video community as the industry sees explosive growth in digital signage, systems integration and high definition.

Thomson is one such firm hoping to tap into the growing interest in multiformat digital signage technologies. The company will come to the show with a new version of the MediaEdge delivery system, designed to distribute and share audio and video content over IP, with newly introduced features such as the ability to handle mixed media including video, still images, scrolling text and HTML files.

Several manufacturers also expect to see a greater number of so-called integrated solutions this year, so said Scott Murray, director of marketing for professional solutions for Thomson, and Gene Savoie, director of the professional display group for Sony Electronics.

“Customers are looking for more integrated solutions, and are turning to suppliers who can provide products that work together [such as] fully integrated digital signage players designed for both ease-of-use and for HD capability,” Savoie said.

At the show, Sony will highlight new LCD business projectors, LCD displays and its SXRD 4K projection technology.

TOP KEYNOTERS

Staged jointly by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the United States Telecom Association (USTelecom), NXTcomm08 will feature some 500 exhibitors in the LVCC, plus a highly detailed series of educational seminars. These sessions will cover topics such as entertainment applications, home networking, IP multimedia subsystems (IMS), IPTV, VoIP, WiMAX, Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) and infrastructure.

Keynotes will be given by some of the telecom industry’s top people, including AT&T Chairman/CEO and President Randall Stephenson, Sprint Nextel President/CEO Dan Hesse, and Verizon President/COO Danny Strigl. “We’ll also have ‘Survivor’ producer Mark Burnett and Sun Microsystems chairman Scott McNealy; both of whom are departures from the traditional keynote content at past NXTcomm shows,” Crawford said.

FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE

Unlike NXTcomm, InfoComm will not have a roster of top-flight keynoters. “Speeches haven’t been popular with our delegates in the past,” Lemke said. “They don’t want to sit in a room listening to people talking; they want to be out on the show floor seeing products and getting education. So we’re putting our focus on those two items instead.”

Last year, InfoComm celebrated its largest event ever, with more than 31,300 registered attendees visiting the three-day event in Anaheim, Calif.

According to Lemke, InfoComm 08 will be built on three legs: cutting-edge exhibitions, education, and networking—between people, not machines.

“Over 900 exhibitors will be here this year, which is the largest number ever at InfoComm,” he said. “They will be covering sectors such as multimedia systems integration, HD digital cinema, HDTV, HD videoconferencing, A/V equipment, control systems, and digital signage, among others.”

Over 300 different education sessions are scheduled for InfoComm. Some are offered directly by the “InfoComm Academy” and others are in association with exhibitors. Many of these educational sessions are ANSI-accredited, which means attendees can receive professional certification at the show.

Finally, InfoComm 08’s third leg will be networking, both on the show floor and at the many receptions held during this year’s conference.

Worth noting: InfoComm 08 will host the National Systems Contractors Association’s NSCA Expo. “We’ll have an NSCA pavilion on the show floor plus NSCA exhibitors, and an NSCA-specific education track,” said Lemke.

TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE?

Not exactly. Despite being side-by-side, InfoComm 08 and NXTcomm08 are two separate shows; each with their own admission fees.

Still, for the price of one round-trip ticket to Las Vegas, it is now possible to cover the entire spectrum of AV technology and distribution in four short days. In a town where the house usually wins, this double-header is a sure thing for A/V professionals.


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