InfoComm Urges Members to Stay Exceptional

Emphasis on creating exceptional experiences likely to remain part of next strategic plan.

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With InfoComm International in the early stages of developing its next strategic plan—set for release some time next year—one element that’s likely to carry over from the 2013 version is the push for integrators to create exceptional experiences.

“It won’t be a surprise to see some elements of this program continuing,” says Betsy Jaffe, InfoComm’s senior VP of member services. “The board is very committed on those principles.” The next InfoComm strategic plan has been in development since July, she says.

Jaffe talked about the importance of creating those exceptional experiences during an InfoComm Roundtable Plus session in the Boston area earlier this month. During the keynote session, she emphasized the importance of focusing on how content, space and technology work together to create experiences that are truly exceptional for end users.

“For decades, the AV industry’s frame of references has been technology,” said Jaffe during her presentation. “Most clients aren’t concerned about technology. They’re concerned about whether it works. But, now, consumers have a higher expectation for technology and they want it at a lower price point.”

InfoComm hired consulting firm Gravity Tank to help explain exceptional experiences, focusing on several key vertical markets in the endeavor, including schools, performing arts centers, houses of worship, museums, meeting rooms and live events. They launched a website that gives InfoComm members links to myriad resources to help them craft their own messaging around the concept.

“People are expecting an experience everywhere they go,” said Jaffe. “It’s important to get to the heart of the usage case and understand how the technology is being used.”

Exceptional experiences achieve the stated goal, whether to inform or entertain the end user or whether you want them to interact with or absorb the information. They also exceed the expectations of the end user and engage the participants, says Jaffe. The technology must work as expected and other components must be exceptional to achieve the goal, she says.

Experiences are broken into four major types: collaboration, exploration, instruction and sensation. Regardless of the type of experience clients are seeking to share with their end users, “the content really needs to resonate with the audience.” That means integrators must present the content in the right format and in the right order, says Jaffe. The space must hold all participants comfortably and the technology can’t fail to deliver the information, while also falling within the customer’s budget.

“You don’t have to gold-plate every solution in every room,” says Jaffe.

The components of exceptional experiences depend on the goals of the installation. In collaborative experiences, the content is constantly evolving, the space must allow for working together and the technology must be easy to use. If you’re focused on exploration, the content exists on many levels, the space must induce curiosity and the technology should foster interaction.

For instructive experiences, the content is fixed and the space supports the learning materials while the technology should be easy to use and understand. To create experiences focused on sensation, the content is fixed and novel, the interior design of the space should align with the theme and the technology should induce awe and wonder.

“You’re looking to create immersive experiences that are rich in meaning,” says Jaffe. “Exceptional experiences lead to more engagement.”

Here’s more from Jaffe’s InfoComm Roundtable Plus keynote: