Positive SignsEditor Michael Goldman on the positive signs of growth in the AV market despite the economic downturn. 7/01/2008 8:00 AM Eastern
Jul 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Michael Goldman
Well, that was an interesting and busy InfoComm 08. We hope you enjoyed the show and found our 2008 InfoComm blog useful (blog.svconline.com/infocomm). In this issue and the August issue, this magazine will, of course, offer in-depth coverage of the proceedings.
One of the most interesting topics regarding this year's show — as reported by InfoComm in its Associations Focus report (p. 32) — is the fact that the organization's preliminary numbers indicate that some 34,600 people attended the show, with a record 998 exhibitors. The organization is calling it the largest pro AV tradeshow ever. It was impossible to thoroughly verify those numbers as of this writing, but it is certainly safe to say the show was extremely active — all you had to do was set foot on the show floor to figure that out.
What makes this particularly interesting is the fact that it occurred in the context of what is clearly a down economy. Filling your gas tank or buying a plane ticket just to get to Las Vegas alone was an unusually painful experience, as I'm sure you will agree.
It appears one factor in the show's vibrancy in this environment likely revolves around the consolidation with NSCA. InfoComm and NSCA officials were both saying right after the show that the NSCA Zone performed more than satisfactorily, and that NSCA-focused attendees were pleased with the experience. Thus, it appears the big consolidation decision was the right one. Folks may not be in a position to put major resources, time, and travel into multiple pro AV shows these days, but for the industry's foundational show — at least in 2008 — they clearly showed big-time support. Many exhibitors I met with during InfoComm told me their business is strong right now in many segments of the pro AV market.
How big can the AV bubble expand in this complicated economy? I have no clue whatsoever, and probably most of you don't either. It is reasonable to assume that with the evolution of the kinds of efficient — and increasingly green — technologies that we saw at InfoComm 08, the pro AV industry and its new sibling, the professional IT industry, have a bright combined future if for no other reason than the fact that they jointly offer the technologies and solutions business and consumers will need to make their professional and personal lives more efficient in a new technological and economic universe. At least, that's the optimistic note I'm taking from InfoComm this year.
Thanks, by the way, to all of you who sent along a thumbs-up regarding the new design of this magazine and our many other online and print initiatives. We've got more up our sleeve.