Despite emerging tech putting a plethora of info at our fingertips, people still flock to pro AV trade shows (InfoComm, ISE, I’m looking at you).
In fact, if I were to speculate, I would say events are to some extent gaining momentum year over year, even though the reasons that people attend may be changing somewhat.
Now, you would probably never notice how much events have changed, because they look almost the same as 10 years ago.
With the exception of the flat panels being larger and thinner, the projectors being brighter and more affordable, and perhaps a few logo updates, I would say the floor of InfoComm has evolved pretty slowly, considering how fast the technology world has evolved in parallel.
So why do so many people still come in droves to InfoComm (or any pro AV trade show, for that matter)?
With instant information, seeing and learning about new product launches isn’t really the key. While in-person training is nice, it isn’t necessarily any more productive than online learning.
I believe the success of pro AV events like InfoComm has a lot to do with people wanting to get away from their offices for a bit, network with folks in the industry that they don’t see very often in person, and perhaps enjoy a little live entertainment at concerts or casinos.
All of these things are great, but when spending substantial company time and resources to attend an event, it is also important to take some tangible value home.
So here is what I recommend you do next time you attend one of the AV trade shows:
Getting all the right people on the phone or in a web meeting can be tough, but a lot of your key partners are at Infocomm in mass.
This is a great time to try to sit with all of the key stakeholders at your vendor partners to move new business plans forward.
I believe in a less is more philosophy for working with vendors, so be selective and find the partners that will line you up for success and use Infocomm as a good place to get everyone on board.
We know the future is going to look very different. AI, VR and other trends are reshaping business. Who are the players in this space that would make sense to connect with? Also, can you start to imagine how these new trends may fit into your business model?
Infocomm is a great place to learn about things you may not have known were available and to ask about longer term roadmaps. Integrators need to plan for the rooms of the future, which we all agree won’t look like the tech laden rooms of today.
Create New Relationships
Breaking bread is the best and fastest way to turn a virtual relationship into a strong business relationship.
Ok, maybe not everyone will have time for a meal, but getting face to face with those you haven’t met before is a great way to turn business ideas into reality.
Also, inviting your clients and potential clients to Infocomm may be a great place to spend some time and turn that prospect into a loyal client.
Seeing something online and seeing something in person are still very different. Sure we may soon be able to walk a house or test-drive a car with VR, but today we are looking at widgets on a computer screen or mobile device.
Infocomm is a good time to see what these devices will look like in a physical environment.
This also goes with training. There are some types of training that go well online, but some that are much better in person such as anything related to device configuration and setup. Also, leadership topics often flourish in groups but become a bit “textbook” (pun intended) when done in isolation.
Having fun, staying connected and seeing the lights of Vegas are all great things, and some of those connections will without question add meaningful value to your business.
Enjoy the trip, and try thinking about new ways to advance your company with the time you spend in Vegas — the AV trade shows may look very similar to 10 years ago, but the way people do business has changed tremendously.