When InfoComm International introduced its most recent three-year strategic plan late in 2013, one of the most-discussed—and possibly confusing—goals was the idea of “creating exceptional experiences.”
Many wondered what that goal meant, and more expected the goal would meet predictable results.
But, about a year after the strategic plan’s release, the goal is starting to bear some fruit, starting with more industry experts bringing the concept with them to all their project pitches. The concept has also been the focus of a couple of recent podcasts, first InfoComm Today and later on AVNation’s October edition of “A State of Control.”
On the InfoComm Today podcast, K2 Audio CEO Deb Britton admitted she’s been “surprised where this ended up and the simplicity of it.” The key components of creating exceptional experiences, she says, are ensuring a project achieves the end goals of the space and the system; require that it exceeds the client’s expectations; and guaranteeing it engages the participants.
“It’s a combination of content, space and technology,” says Britton. “It’s a recognition we can’t do it on our own.”
Jeff Stoebner, president and CEO of AVI Systems, thinks it’s important to not only ask what it means to create exceptional experiences, but also how to do it.
“InfoComm laid down a BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal),” he says.
Mike Carter, VP of The Clarient Group, says creating the experience has always been the goal of systems integrators, particularly in AV. Creating exceptional experiences, he says, comes “when the medium enables the message without overpowering it. But you can’t stop with the AV experience; it’s about the entire environment—the audience, the space, those sorts of things.”
InfoComm’s emphasis on exceptional experiences is “forcing us to work outside ourselves and put content and space before the technology,” says Britton. Stoebner agrees, saying, “We have to go outside the perceived box and participate in the space and content more than in the past.”
That’s a good thing for the end user, says Carter, who notes “the technology is the backdrop.”
“A user doesn’t walk into the room to plug in his laptop or have a videoconference; he walks into the room to communicate,” says Carter.
That comes with creating more of a collaborative, team-oriented environment, says Britton.
“We need to get the end user and the architect thinking about how the content can collaborate with our technology,” she says. “That can influence the design. It’s not a matter of throwing more technology at it, It’s about everyone working together. When you have that excitement and feel of everything working well together, that’s when you know (you’ve created an exceptional experience).”