Danto Named InfoComm Connections Keynote Speaker

Controversial industry consultant David Danto will talk about the changing face of AV and IT convergence and how end users can prepare.

David Danto, whose CI blogs on the future of AV and IT convergence made waves across the industry, will be one of two keynote speakers at the InfoComm Connections event in San Jose, Calif., on March 4 and 5.

Danto, principal consultant at Dimension Data Enterprise Services, will present “AV/IT Convergence: The Next Generation,” a one-hour discussion that looks at the changing face of end users and their needs. Following Danto’s presentation, he will be part of a panel discussion, featuring players from all sides of the discussion. that will include audience questions.

The InfoComm Connections event is aimed at helping technology managers and in-house AV pros more successfully navigate the ever-changing industry. It includes a full day of InfoComm University courses and several education sessions on unified communications and collaboration and AV for higher education.

The other keynote speaker for the first InfoComm Connections event will be Andrew J. Milne, CEO of Tidebreak Inc., who will talk about “Delivering Exceptional Experiences that Prepare the Way for New Work Practices in the 21st Century.”

In his keynote, Danto will draw upon his more than three decades in communications to highlight trends in AV and IT convergence and explain what the next generation of technology supported collaboration will look like.

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“AV/IT ‘convergence’ was a buzzword we started throwing around way back in the late 1990s,” says Danto in his keynote summary. “AV collaboration tools were beginning to ride networks owned by IT and the responsibilities were starting to blur. AV people generally scoffed at the idea that IT people could provide useful advice in ‘their’ area. IT people generally scoffed at the idea that the AV crew could provide scalable and reliable solutions in a data driven world.

“Now, 15 years later, much has changed. It is difficult to find a piece of AV equipment that doesn’t touch the network in some way — and many devices rely heavily upon it. In fact, there are many new AV systems that couldn’t exist without the network. But while much has changed — the scoffing hasn’t,” says Danto.

Some AV providers think a few network buzzwords are enough to equip them to sell to the new CIOs of the world, says Danto, while some IT providers think glorified webcams make good room conferencing solutions. Anyone that looks to find the best and omit the worst of both is subject to ridicule by established providers on both sides, he says.

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“The next generation of end-users however really gets it,” says Danto. “They understand AV and IT and expect both to work. They no longer accept it when IT people say things aren’t available in an enterprise — because they know they work at home. They no longer accept it when AV people say everything must be customized — because they see off-the-shelf systems working just fine. User needs have changed and will continue to change, and firms that support users will need to evolve right along with them.”

Danto has long been known as someone who likes to stir the pot and bring forward controversial opinions, even those that are contradictory to what many of his peers believe. Still, many of his ideas eventually are proven to be not only true, but prescient.

“Technology managers will learn how to navigate the often conflicting messages to achieve their desired business outcomes,” according to the announcement from InfoComm International. “Solution providers will learn what end users will really need going forward and what approaches are simply outdated. The truth of the next generation of convergence may be difficult and complex, but we think you can handle the truth.”