Exertis Almo‘s E4 Experience events are always a sight to behold — the exhibits, education sessions and roundtable discussions offer numerous opportunities for integrator and vendor partners, as well as for end users.
The E4 Experience in Boston was Exertis Almo’s last stop on its 2022 tour and was no less spectacular! Fifty-six exhibitors were on-site, spanning across two exhibit halls (the largest number of exhibitors at E4 this year). Since the inception of the E4 Experience almost 12 years ago, the brainchild of Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Almo Corporation, Melody Craigmyle, says they have outgrown the spaces each year. Since the merging of Exertis and Almo Corporation earlier this year, the company was able to introduce customers to new manufacturers, such as, INFiLED, MAXHUB, Bose, Shure and Sennheiser.
The regional one-day event is meant to be affordable and focused on high-quality, one-to-one conversations; It’s also an opportunity for integrators to bring guests along such as their end users. Integrators can also earn RU credits for education sessions. Twelve Boston-area colleges and universities were on-site to explore the latest AV technology.
As for plans for next year, Exertis Almo hinted at two E4 Experiences for the fall and spring of 2023 with a location set for Dallas, a New York metro area, and perhaps, a location in the western part of the U.S.
Being our first E4, we were excited to take advantage of every offering available on the double showroom floor. Below are our key takeaways from the Boston E4 Experience.
Diving into Exertis Almo’s E4 Experience
The show kicked off with an insightful keynote by Gary Kayye on how workspaces need to be digitally transformed to meet the needs of the changing hybrid workforce. Gone are the days of walking into a cube-like office. Today’s workers want flexibility to work remotely, where and whenever they want. They need immersive meeting rooms. If they do come into the office, it has to be a place that they want to come in. That is to say, it has to be a place that’s fun, offers “wow” factor, is convenient and offers videoconferencing capabilities. As many workplaces are switching from cubicle-like lands, they are opting for open-concept floor plans, which will require soundmasking for ambient noise.
The furniture and technology must marry each other. Digital whiteboards, for example, should not added as an “after the fact,” but integrate with the entire room. The next generation of workers are used to multitasking, collaborating and forming relationships online. Generation Alpha, those currently under five years old, know how to navigate to YouTube before they can tie their own shoes. Audiovisual manufacturers are going to be fighting against the ‘good enough’ principle of providing technology to this generation. For example, Kayye cited how Apple AirPods or Apple headphones are ‘good enough’ for videoconferencing.
Project Crew Multiplier Partnership
Exhibiting at the E4 Experience Tour in Boston was Project Crew Multiplier (PCM), which offers Exertis Almo resellers and integrators the ability to outsource qualified services to expand projects, grow their businesses and achieve higher short- and long-term profits.
Co-founded by Chris Whitley (founder of USAV Group) and industry veteran Dan Abrams, PCM is a nationwide organization focused on developing and growing third-party service providers across the low-voltage spectrum. Because of the partnership, Exertis Almo resellers and integrators have direct access to the PCM Network. This includes fully vetted Crew Network Providers (CNPs) that offer nationwide project labor and installation, drafting, programming training, staffing and rack builds, as well as logistics and staging, and supplemental labor services.
Keep an eye out for an exclusive interview with PCM’s founders in the coming weeks only at CommercialIntegrator.com.
Bringing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion to Organizations
Another highlight of the E4 Experience was the roundtable discussion on DEI moderated by Melody Craigmyle, Exertis Almo; with a panel that included Kimberly Lonas, Exertis, Alesia Hendley, Audinate; and Elizabeth Cox, HOK. The discussion focused on how organizations can begin conversations about inculcating the values of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. Here, the four formidable women provided insight into different business programs, policies and strategies required to uplift those values.
The session also focused on a little-to-known topic — designing workspaces for the neurodivergent people in the offices. Cox, senior associate at HOK, expanded on the necessity for creating spaces for people who need to refocus in their environments. Hendley, multimedia journalist, as well as business development rep at Audinate, also chimed in, saying, “Audio needs to be proactive rather than reactive.”
Summing up the discussion was Lonas, global diversity and inclusion program lead, Exertis Almo, who emphasized that differences in people are normal, not deficit. “It is thus our responsibility to make sure that everyone [within the organization] feels as part of the [workplace] family,” she advises.
Keep an eye out for an extended version of this discussion in the coming weeks only at CommercialIntegrator.com.
NSCA Roundtable Discussion on Integrator Challenges
NSCA’s executive director, Tom LeBlanc, led a discussion on the business challenges integrators will face in 2023. The supply chain, of course, was a hot topic. LeBlanc says, “We can’t solve it; nobody can, but what integrators can do is focus on what you can control.”
Integrators have to wear more hats than ever before. Gone are the days of selling boxes. “If you’re doing business like you were five years ago, you’re not going to be in business tomorrow,” adds LeBlanc. When products aren’t physically in stock, customers turned to cloud delivered systems. This presents an opportunity for integrators to grow their income as the IoT device market is set to grow.
Look for additional coverage of the NSCA roundtable discussion in the coming weeks on CommercialIntegrator.com and in print.
Navigating the E4 Experience Boston Booths
The exhibit floor buzzed with excitement as integrator partners and end users took in the dazzling display of products and solutions! One of the key themes we noticed was the offering of simple plug-and-play solutions by a number of companies.
Another aspect that attendees spotlighted was the intimate setting of the exhibit halls. In their opinion, it provided a real opportunity in connecting with other customers. Not only that but attendees could also get to know the products at a deeper level. “We really got to talk to people at this E4! We’ve been attending since the first leg of the 2022 E4 tour; and each time, we’ve formed great connections with potential partners and sponsors,” an exhibitor at Jabra enthuses.
Click on “View Slideshow” in the upper right-corner to view some of the booths.
All in all, Exertis Almo’s E4 Experience continues to deliver great learning and engaging opportunities. Whether you’re an end user, integrator, thought leader or manufacturer, there’s a little bit of something for everyone!