My Top Highlights From Almo Pro AV’s E4 Experience

Published: 2021-12-09

Hybrid events have become extremely important as we all continue to feel our way through the barriers that COVID-19 has presented. It has amazed me to see just how difficult it has been for our industry to pull off these hybrid events, especially given that many of the moving parts used to create these types of high-level experiences are baked into the DNA of the commercial AV industry.

With its E4 Experience, Almo Professional AV has set the bar high with respect to hybrids of in-person events and virtual events. On November 30, in Dallas, I was able to attend the E4 Experience, which is one of my favorite industry events — one that has played a major role in the continued growth of my career. I first attended E4 in 2016, when I was an end user/in-house integrator. I found it to be one of the premier opportunities to explore new concepts, engage with industry thought leaders, and be educated on the latest trends and technologies in our industry. And I’m not expressing a biased view due to my involvement in E4 this year. It’s just pure genuine vibes!

So, I wanted to share my top seven highlights from this year’s hybrid E4 Experience. Here they are, in descending order:

#7: A Quick Interview with Rob Ziv

Rob Ziv, MBA, CTS-D, CTS-I, ISF-C, DSCE, who is Almo Professional AV’s vice president of business development and strategy, is an industry giant. If you don’t know Rob, you should! His expertise in our industry is unmatched. I had the pleasure of sitting in one of his trainings at an E4 event in 2018. The value of his presentation still lingers in my mind to this day, and it has helped me propel my career forward. During this year’s E4 Experience, I had the honor of reconnecting with him during a brief interview, during which we spoke about the importance of E4. “This is a local show,” Ziv remarked. “People can actually make it to the show. The other instance is the hybrid event allows people to attend wherever they are.” He continued, “One of the nice things about E4 is that you get a chance to get up close and meet folks from the different manufacturers…to meet the engineers behind the products…to meet the product managers and really get in depth.”

This is one of the main reasons I’ve continued to attend E4 over and over again. Relationships are built throughout the #E4Experience.

#6: Full Solutions from Panasonic

I’ve used a wide variety of Panasonic products, but one thing I wasn’t aware of is the service offering within the Panasonic team. I spoke with Angie Greene, business development manager, Avocor and Panasonic, at Almo Professional AV, during the E4 Experience. During our discussion, Greene spoke not only about the Panasonic PTZ camera line and other offerings but also the cherry on top of it all: what the Panasonic team can provide with respect to the service and field teams. You can see the full interview here.

#5: A Look at All BrightSign Has to Offer

BrightSign is a household name, especially within the digital signage segment. While exploring the show floor, I caught up with Linda Pennington, southwest regional sales manager at BrightSign. She discussed BrightSign’s interactive devices that trigger content playback. With these devices in place, you can engage your audience with unique, interactive experiences that involve wired and wireless sensors, touchscreens, buttons, remote controls and more. Now, when guests enter a space, it’s no longer just a video playing on a display. The interactive space lets guest know that their presence triggers an experience.

#4: Conference Technologies’ House of Worship Session

Catering to the house of worship vertical can be tricky. Most of the time, budgets are slim, the teams are composed of volunteer staff and it’s hard to navigate all the moving parts that must be implemented to create a seamless worship experience. There were many churches creating hybridized services before the pandemic. Now, however, ever more houses of worship are trying to find a way not only to keep their congregation safe but also to spread the gospel to more people, regardless of where they choose to worship.

Robert Scott and Scott Lopez, of Conference Technologies Inc., delivered a presentation on the technologies that must be put in place to effectively stream. In addition, however, they spoke to the importance of training and building an ongoing relationship with the technical teams whose members are the heart of this vertical. I actually started in the house of worship space, and the value this panel provided to both integrators and end users was a highlight of my E4 Experience.

#3: The HOK Session

HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. We’re beginning to see HOK at more and more audiovisual events, and I am ecstatic about that fact. I have been writing about how our industry needs to better partner with creatives, architects and others to create heightened experiences across different verticals.

In my opinion, “The Power of Place: The New Next Workplace” panel, which featured HOK’s Rachel Rouse and Kay Sargent, was the best presentation of the day. There was a good amount of data provided that can empower not only architects but also integrators on how to design for all people. Hearing about the importance and value-add of AV from design firms is huge, and it’s a step in the right direction. The key is for AV to be included at the beginning of a project, instead of being an afterthought.

#2: Hybrid Collaboration

Hands down, the #E4Experience was one of the best hybrid events our industry has seen since the start of the pandemic. If you weren’t able to join live, you can relive the event online by going here. The sessions were brought to virtual attendees live. I had the pleasure of being a part of the hybrid event, as well. I was able to chat with attendees in person about why they attended and what they were excited about throughout the event. I was also able to do a few booth tours for the virtual attendees, so they could get a glimpse of the show floor. The marriage of the in-person and virtual approaches made the #E4Expereince an unqualified success.

Richard Hutton, vice president of demand generation at Sharp NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc., shared a little of his perspective via LinkedIn. He wrote, “Today, I saw a superb execution of a hybrid event at the #e4experience by #almoproav in Dallas. I’ve been viewing the online version from my home office and the content has been excellent — no surprise from Melody Craigmyle, who’s been delivering top quality content for years! The entire experience worked.” And I agree. Well done!

#1: Networking Opportunities

I can’t express the power of networking enough! If you’re looking to meet end users, integrators, thought leaders, manufacturer partners or anyone at Almo Professional AV, it’s a must to attend an #E4Experience, whether participating in-person or virtually. Almo has sought to remove the barriers to entry that are sometimes present with industry events. Thus, it’s essentially all upside when you choose to attend! The value of sitting at breakfast and lunch tables with industry peers and learning from one another is unparalleled. Don’t miss an opportunity to explore, engage and be educated! The #E4Experience is a pillar of the commercial AV industry, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

There are multiple events on the schedule for 2022—including this coming spring—and I can’t wait to see what Almo Professional AV does next. You can find full details on upcoming events here. And be sure to check out my video, embedded in this post, to get a quick look at just how much fun we had in Dallas!

It feels good to be back.

Posted in: Insights, News

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