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Cultivating the Craft at InfoComm13
5/23/2013

Organizers expect approximately 35,000 to attend Infocomm13, June 12-14 in Orlando.
ORLANDO, FLA.—Unlike other conventions of its ilk, the annual InfoComm convention here, June 12–14, has to tread a delicate line, and this year is no different. As the largest audio/video trade conference in the industry, the convention targets those passionate aficionados in the commercial AV industry who have a well-earned reputation for being a fervent, zealous bunch.

“[The convention’s goal is to] look at the ways that we can transform our industry from home-grown solutions to a more consistent trade,” said Betsy Jaffe, director of public relations for InfoComm, while realizing that there’s an ardent group of AV fans at its doorstep closely watching the industry as it tries to meaningfully balance the “trade and craft” of AV. To do that, this year’s convention will offer educational programs, new special events and keynote speakers that fit with the show’s theme of “Collaborate, Communicate and Connect.”

A SHOW WITHIN A SHOW

What’s often overlooked is that Info- Comm is really many shows within a show, Jaffe said. It’s the nation’s largest audio show, as well as the country’s biggest display show and conferencing show, with a gamut of solutions from software to digital signage.

This year the show takes a futuristic bent, with a set of educational programs and sessions looking at what is facing the industry a few years around the bend. Leading that charge will be keynote speaker Jeremy Gutsche, an author and commentator whose site TrendHunter.com looks at cutting-edge trends in everything from technology to style and design.

“In the past, we’ve had speakers that have looked at a specific technology, but with 35,000 attendees [expected at the show], different people have different interests,” Jaffe said. “With the pace of changes, having someone who was aware of these trends—who is really plugged into that community—was very attractive to us.”

The convention will also debut a series of Tech Zone Pavilions, a set of smaller exhibit areas that will showcase new products and services in the areas of security, education technology and digital storage content creation.

Debuting this year is a new Awards Showcase that will highlight exceptional AV installations from the government, corporate and house of worship markets. The conference will also highlight sessions as part of the InfoComm University set of courses. “Networked AV Systems” is an intermediate course for professionals looking to understand how their systems interoperate with IT networks.

Jeremy Gutsche

The convention will also introduce a new three-day prep class, “CTS-I Prep,” a course that helps prepare professionals for the InfoComm Certified Technology Specialist-Installation certification. “The questions are, how can an AV system deliver? How can we do better?” Jaffe said. “We put together a special program that is focused on issues related to quality, and especially to a performance verification checklist.”

CONFERENCING TECHNOLOGY

Educational sessions and the exhibits— which will be held in the city’s Orange County Convention Center—will touch on the biggest trends facing the industry, from 4K to control systems to IT technology, according to Jaffe.

“I think right now one of our hottest technologies is conferencing as well as addressing issues that arise with bringing your own device in conferencing,” she said.

More than 900 exhibitors are expected this year, with companies showing solutions such as video-over-IP and digital signage. The firm Tightrope Media Systems plans to show off new creative packages for digital signage, while others will focus on IP, with Visionary Solutions showing IPTV and internet encoding solutions, and Matrox demonstrating the power of video over IP technology.

InfoComm will again offer access to a series of audio demo rooms on the show floor, where attendees can take a look at how vibrant and well-engineered sound systems work in the real world.

The importance of a show like Info- Comm can’t be underestimated, Jaffe said.

“We are one of the biggest shows [in the industry], but the type of conversations you can have here is immeasurable,” she said. “InfoComm represents the full value chain: a third of attendees are end-users from health care and government agencies; the rest are service providers like consultants, dealers and integrators. It’s a place where you can really have conversations with people in the industry.”

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