Too Many End Users at InfoComm? AVIXA’s Labuskes Says There’s Still an Important Place for Integrators

Published: 2018-06-12

Chances are good, if you were at InfoComm 2018 in Las Vegas last week, or any of the myriad events associated with North America’s largest annual celebration of the pro AV space, you saw AVIXA executive director David Labuskes.

Labuskes made it his mission at InfoComm 2018 to continue spreading the gospel of AVIXA to anyone who wanted to hear it. He is certainly not shying away from or hiding in the wake of the decision last September to change the association’s brand from InfoComm International.

In about 2 ½ days at InfoComm 2018 myself, I saw Labuskes at the Global Presence Alliance’s 10th anniversary celebration high above Vegas; at the AV Nation AVTweetup after the first day of the show wrapped up on Wednesday; at the PSNI Global Alliance partner breakfast on Thursday morning; in the AVIXA member lounge; and, somehow, even on the trade show floor.

At the PSNI breakfast, Labuskes acknowledged the reaction to the AVIXA acronym was immediate, even within his own home, where his son Landon wondered why his father was advocating a name change to something that sounded like a prescription drug.

“We looked at who we are, who we want to be and how we can elevate the value of this industry,” Labuskes told PSNI members. “That demanded we be something more than InfoComm the show.

“We do so much more than communicate information. These experiences are what we create with AV,” he said to the group in explaining the rationale behind the brand change.

Convincing Integrators ‘It’s Not Substitution…Just Addition’

In social media discussions after InfoComm 2018 wrapped up and the last exhibitor booth was torn down for another year, the topic turned to how AVIXA is continuing to keep its integrator members happy as it reaches out to bring in more end users, one reason InfoComm 2018 set the show’s Las Vegas attendance record.

The sentiment of being left behind or even forgotten was perhaps best encapsulated by Westbury National sales manager Brock McGinnis, who was a staunch advocate of the brand refresh last fall.

AVIXA communications director Brad Grimes assured McGinnis the association is not turning its back on its members, but welcoming more people into the fold to learn about the wonder of AV.

“It’s important, as the AV industry association, to have a message for customers about the value AV can bring to their organizations,” Grimes tweeted. “AVIXA delivers the message in support of its valued members: manufacturers, resellers, integrators, designers, distributors.”

Labuskes echoed Grimes’ sentiments, tweeting, “We aren’t, nor ever will [we], mov[ing] away from resellers or manufacturers. This is addition, not substitution. We bring new people to the campfire, make them hungry and you sell them s’more(s). We all benefit when we better understand our partners and our customers.”

When Avitecture system consultant Alexis LaBroi said AVIXA continues to offer its regional women’s networking events across the U.S. as ways for members to get additional value from the association, McGinnis applauded the effort, but called for AVIXA to do more things like it.

“Exactly the kind of grass roots, ‘meet the industry at home’ community -building, career-promoting networking events I think a lot of members crave,” he tweeted.

Labuskes assured McGinnis that association leadership, including himself, are doing whatever they can to make sure all members get the most out of being part of AVIXA.

“New tactics doesn’t equate to leave behind,” Labuskes tweeted. “Less horses in the US Army now too. New desires and careers means engage in new ways. But can’t do the issue justice at 140-character slices.” He welcomed McGinnis and other concerned members to call or email him to continue the conversation.

Impressing End Users

Back to the PSNI breakfast, Labuskes urged members to continue thinking in spectacular and large-scale terms about the solutions they provide their customers.

“The people in this room can actually change the way people experience each other,” he said. And, while the comment wasn’t in any way related to the subsequent Twitter exchange about integrators’ place in the new association with end users, it certainly could apply there, too.

The one thing we know for sure is Labuskes isn’t afraid to tell AVIXA’s story: why the brand needed to change, what the brand change means and how it will make the AV integration world better for all involved, from manufacturers to integrators to even *(gulp)* end users.

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