By now, you’ve heard the news that we’ll have to wait just a little bit longer to see each other on the InfoComm floor, as the event has been pushed back from June to October due to lingering COVID-19 concerns.
Word on the street is that InfoComm is the pro AV trade show you want to go to. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been.
I only started my career in pro AV last fall, right as the pandemic emerged. I missed out on every major trade show and the chance to finally meet many of you face to face.
However, I have learned quite a lot about the industry since then – enough that I know you folks won’t just be sitting idly by as you wonder what fall in Orlando looks like.
Here are a few things you can do to help improve your business during those few days in June:
Rethink your business. COVID-19 has changed the way your customers live and work. When the virus subsides and employees come back to the office, it likely won’t snap back to how it was pre-pandemic. Hybrid work is the buzz word of late, and it really remains to be seen if remote work has any staying power at all. With vaccines being distributed, we should start to see some semblance of normalcy later this year – possibly this summer. That should give you a better idea of where the unmet needs are and how your integration firm can adapt to the changing economy.
Network virtually. The pandemic took away the possibility to meet each other and network, which is a huge draw for these events. However, the tech industry continued to innovate throughout 2020 and beyond and created new opportunities to network digitally. Companies like LinkedIn have created new opportunities for virtual networking, and some in the pro AV space already make use of those tools. The team at Commercial Integrator and our connected brands created virtual networking opportunities as part of Total Tech Summit. If you were a part of that, we look forward to helping you replace those lost trade show connections.
Build and improve your workforce. Workforce development has been one of the main grievances of most integration firms that I’ve interviewed. Unlike similar fields like IT, there’s not really any school or university that specializes in this relatively obscure and niche industry. Instead of running around the trade show floor, use those days to reach out to local community colleges or technical schools to see if there are any partnership opportunities that can hep create a pipeline of talent to your company and the industry as a whole. Take a look at your company and ask yourself if young professionals would want to work there. Make necessary changes to your company to make it more inviting to today’s entry-level workers.
Work on your training and certifications. AVIXA, NSCA, Crestron and others offer classed, trainings and certifications for AV technicians, so check those out and study up to take the affiliated exams and get certified. If you’ve done that already (as most of you have), consider educating yourself in IT. AV and IT are merging and you can’t stop it, so check out certifications from organizations like CompTIA, Microsoft, Cisco, and others to get schooled in networking, programming and other IT-related disciplines that you’ll eventually need to learn to stay with the times. Learning a new skill that can help your business is always time well spent.
Attend ISE. Integrated Systems Europe is still scheduled for Barcelona, Spain for June 1-4. If you were planning on flying across the Atlantic Ocean and then go down to Florida for InfoComm a week later, more power to you. If you were only planning on attending one trade show in June, your decision is a little bit easier now. ISE is in Barcelona this year for the first time, so if you’ve never been to Spain, now is your chance.