Inside InfoComm’s 3-Year Plan to Grow Globally

Executives will target six areas to improve global reach, importance of organization.

InfoComm International is focused on six pillars of developing and growing the association beyond its 5,000 worldwide members under its latest three-year strategic plan, approved last year by its board of directors: thought leadership, exceptional experiences, workforce development, globalization, community expansion and engagement, and leveraging its brand.

Executive director and CEO David Labuskes outlined the importance of each area and talked about how InfoComm will accomplish each of the six goals in a one-hour webinar, during which he described the association as “the curator of a body of knowledge.”

Although 70 percent of InfoComm’s members are in North America, “we want to broaden our reach and broaden our relevance,” says Labuskes. That doesn’t mean turning its back on current members, just adding new focus on those who it hopes to bring into the group.

Inside the Numbers
InfoComm is looking to develop its higher education curriculum, working with the American Institute of Architects on new ways to be more accessible to technology managers “to help them with their role in the value chain.” About 26 percent of InfoComm’s members are contractors and integrators, 21 percent are manufacturers, 20 percent are distributors and resellers and 17 percent are technology managers and end users.

Live events professionals make up about nine percent of InfoComm members, which also include six percent industry representatives and service providers. More than 9,300 InfoComm members have CTS credentials worldwide and ANSI recently approved InfoComm’s AV Systems Performance Verification Standard.

Labuskes stressed the importance of integrators moving away from selling solutions and instead talking to clients about “the strategic impact of technology.”

“It’s not about making the technology work better; it’s about transforming the way people connect,” says Labuskes. “We’re moving away from selling solutions and looking more at the strategic impact of technology, asking ‘how does this display help the client make better decisions?’ That moves you away from being a commodity.

“When you talk about transforming human communication through technology, you’re talking about a sustainable business model,” he says.

The Six Pillars
Under the thought leadership branch of the strategic plan, InfoComm officials will develop more classes more quickly, host more conferences (such as sessions on digital signage and unified communications at the annual InfoComm show in Las Vegas this summer), publish more articles and attend more leadership events in the next three years, says Labuskes.

InfoComm had 11 shows around the world in 2013 and will add a new one in Brazil in May to the docket. There were about 120,000 people at the shows last year, says Labuskes.

InfoComm will help to develop “exceptional experiences” for its members by defining the road map, developing task forces, recognizing excellence in the industry through its awards program and publishing case studies that display the best of the best in an ever-improving industry.

“If we don’t develop the ability to help people understand how good it can be, they won’t ask for it to be that good,” says Labuskes.

Workforce development will come through supporting changes to the scholarship program, sponsoring the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., hosting job fairs, publishing information about apprenticeships and creating a mentors program.

“We need more excited people to be part of our industry,” says Labuskes.

InfoComm’s globalization will continue through translating classes into more languages, adding regional advisory groups in 2014 in Brazil, Colombia and Italy to existing groups in Australia, Germany, India Mexico, the Middle East, and United Kingdom, launching regional microsites in various languages, hosting more training opportunities, adding staff, and developing regional pricing structures that reflect the financial situations of countries where members live and work.

They’ll continue expanding and engaging the community by identifying more groups to “bring into the tent,” says Labuskes, and increase the recognition of InfoComm’s brand in large part by leveraging the organization’s 75th anniversary in 2014.

The brand must fulfill its promises to be “Behind Every AV Experience,” says Labuskes.

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Craig MacCormack is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience covering local and national news and sports as well as architecture and engineering before moving into his current role. He joined Commercial Integrator in January 2011.

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