Leaving the show, I can now say there are some differences between the residential and commercial markets, but the gap between the markets isn’t nearly as wide as I initially thought.
The feeling or “vibe” of InfoComm is more “professional” than CEDIA and CES, and this translates to more clear cut conversations and faster, more direct booth meetings. What was interesting is the overlap of technologies such as 4K, distributed audio, and control and automation.
A strong case could be made that the consumer market is driving the adoption of technologies like 4K, and to a lesser extent energy management, through control and automation. Several people I spoke with at the show indicated interest in my consumer electronics background with Commercial Integrator’s sister publication CE Pro.
One particular conversation I had occurred on a hotel shuttle bus leaving the Las Vegas Convention Center. Talking with a video production professional from the streaming media market, he explained to me that he was attending InfoComm to see the latest production equipment.
Looking at the latest 4K equipment, he said he could see how the market for UltraHD is starting to take shape, but he didn’t realize until talking with me how aggressively the consumer electronics industry is pushing the format through manufacturers like Sony and the work of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) trade group.
I was also surprised to learn the consumer market may be ahead in its coverage of impending broadcast standards like ATSC 2.0, which was a focal point of the professional NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show this past spring.
It was also great to hear about the growing effort of the consumer and pro audio industries to work together to educate consumers, residential installers and commercial installers on the benefits of high-resolution audio.
Looking ahead in a big picture kind of way, there are some things that will never cross over from the commercial market into the consumer realm and vice versa, but today there is more common ground than ever.
Ultimately, if this trend continues, perhaps one day there’ll be a joint show similar to the ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) Show in Amsterdam where dealers from both markets can converge to see the latest and greatest in residential and commercial technologies under one roof on American soil.