Las Vegas may be synonymous with gambling, but the InfoComm 2018 trade show was a rarity in Sin City: a sure thing. This year’s edition was the largest InfoComm ever, and it was also the first held under the auspices of the renamed Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA). Despite the surroundings, luck had nothing to do with the show’s success; instead, it was the result of careful planning and thoughtful expansion.
The show took over much the Las Vegas Convention Center, using 550,000 square feet for exhibits, demo rooms and special events space, all of which made it physically the largest InfoComm to date. Filling all that room were 964 exhibitors presenting an estimated 10,000-plus products to nearly 43,000 registered attendees from all 50 states and 108 countries. A full 20 percent of attendees came from outside the U.S., and according to Julian Phillips, chairman of the board of directors, AVIXA, “Forty percent of the InfoComm attendees have been end users [in the past], and that is a trend that is going to continue to grow…. They come to InfoComm for insight rather than just viewing products and meeting people. Center Stage [InfoComm’s hub for creative dialogues, featuring thinkers and practitioners from various fields that use extensive pro AV] is an example of sharing insight to get the conversation moving.”
If there was a trend this year, it was that many of the most intriguing events took place before the show even began—almost like an after party in reverse. Sure, 540 attendees took part in the show’s traditional three-day training sessions before the show opened (a new record) and 188 pros passed the Certified Technology Specialist exam offered, but there was more to explore than that. The day prior to InfoComm saw the third edition of the TIDE (Technology, Innovation, Design, Experience) Conference, while Emerging Trends Day, Integrated Life Day and other offerings took place concurrently. TIDE shared ways of applying human-centered design to AV solutions; Integrated Life looked at technologies for smart buildings, homes and spaces; and Emerging Trends, held in association with the IMCCA, examined growing changes to the digital workplace; display technologies; storage and distribution; live experience technology and more.
All those offerings not only provided industry insights, but also helped draw desirable attendees to the show. As Derk Hagedorn, senior marketing manager, Live Sound and Studio Consoles and Controllers, for Avid noted, “As one of the largest professional audiovisual trade shows in the U.S., InfoComm is where industry innovators and thought leaders share their expertise, discuss the latest technology trends and debate the future of the AV industry. For Avid as an exhibitor, it’s the show where our live sound solutions take center stage.”
The considerable number of pre-show offerings, however, also attracted attendees to InfoComm because those events were based around industry trailblazers sharing hard-earned knowledge. David Labuskes, CEO of AVIXA, pointed out, “The people that donate their time to present their perspective on where the industry is heading are thought leaders. In many cases, their perception of where we’re heading highlights questions that the attendees spend the rest of the week getting answers to. And the exciting thing about being on the show floor with 40,000 people is that you can get 40,000 answers and then you can pick and choose from those. It establishes a context within which to experience the rest of the show.”
Despite the early offerings, it’s not as if the show ended before it began; when InfoComm 2018 opened, attendees hit the show floor hard, greeted by hundreds of exhibitors offering scores of new products. Meanwhile, the nearby Audio Demo Rooms were busier this year as well. More than 20 manufacturers used the spaces to present their audio innovations, ranging from massive line arrays to networking to ceiling speakers to microphones (see page 38 for more).
If you missed it all, fret not; you have a year to prepare for the next one, as InfoComm 2019 will be held June 8-14, 2019, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.
InfoComm • www.infocommshow.org