InfoComm is thinking outside the box as its 2017 tradeshow in Orlando approaches. New to the show this year, InfoComm‘s Center Stage will host a series of 20-minute talks by entertainment, enterprise, healthcare, education and hospitality professionals. In other words, industries that intersect with AV and IT.
The idea is that many industries use AV to tell a story or create an experience, but professionals from those industries may not consider themselves AV professionals or even part of the AV industry. InfoComm hopes to create a dialogue so that designers, architects, researchers, or other influencers who utilize AV begin to see themselves in the industry.
“Center Stage is one of the new elements of the show. The content is more about thought leadership, and less about the nitty-gritty of a specific technology,” says Brad Grimes, director of communications for InfoComm International. “We have people who are not necessarily AV professionals coming onto the stage. The sessions are brief TEDx-type talks or Q&As with a moderator. We want to hear from people who have specific requirements that AV can help them achieve.”
“Center Stage, and perhaps to a bigger extent TIDE, is one of the ways someone who does design but doesn’t consider themselves an AV professional can come to the show and get involved. Then they may meet someone who can bring their AV expertise to a new project.” Brad Grimes, InfoComm International
Center Stage will take place quite literally in the middle of the show floor for all three days of the 2017 show (June 14-16). The schedule is already set and many of the sessions will be recorded. All talks are free to attend.
Center Stage is not to be confused with InfoComm’s TIDE initiative, although there is some crossover among speakers and the two events share a similar goal. TIDE stands for Technology, Innovation, Design, Experience. It’s InfoComm’s new thought leadership conference taking place Tuesday before the show.
“[TIDE] is a very different thing for InfoComm,” says Grimes. “Matthew Luhn from Pixar and Nonny de la Peña, the virtual reality pioneer, will be speaking at TIDE. All the speakers are very much designers, storytellers and people who create experiences. But they’re not AV professionals per se. [The goal] is to start the conversation beyond something like, here’s another digital signage conference at the show. Digital signage will be obviously be there, and that’s important, but we wanted to put a bigger wrapper around the technology.”
Both TIDE and Center Stage are part of InfoComm’s strategic plan for growth, says Grimes. Specifically, InfoComm wants more people to see themselves in the industry.
“Take hospitality designers, for example. If you create an amazing hotel lobby, you’re utilizing AV but you don’t necessarily make the connection all the time,” says Grimes. “Or a restaurant chain. We all work in restaurants, right? But have we met the person who actually designed it? Center Stage, and perhaps to a bigger extent TIDE, is one of the ways someone who does design but doesn’t consider themselves an AV professional can come to the show and get involved. Then they may meet someone who can bring their AV expertise to a new project.”
InfoComm isn’t just thinking about designers. The association’s three-year initiative with architects aimed to get those professionals to think more about AV as architecture. In this new technological landscape AV is many things to many industries, and that’s the point.
“We know who’s at the show; it’s our bread and butter. It’s our AV integrators, our consultants, a growing portion of end users … but we’re trying to create a bigger tent,” adds Grimes. “That’s part of the initiative and what we hope to see over the next few years — a growing audience at the show of people who might not consider themselves AV professionals but use AV in their designs or as the end point for the content they produce. Because these people are storytellers, too.”