Mar 16, 2011 5:02 PM,
with Bennett Liles
Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.
The big event is almost here. Almo Professional AV’s E4 Tour will have dozens of AV manufacturers, product training, prizes and Infocomm CTS renewal credits. Sam Taylor and Melody Craigmyle are here from Almo to give us all the details. That’s coming up next on the SVC podcast.
Sam and Melody it’s great having you here on the SVC podcast and we’re talking about the E4 Tour. A huge event coming up for Almo Professional AV and that makes me a little curious as to how the idea for the E4 Tour originally came up.
Melody: Well the idea for the tour came up from a previous employer that we were at and we had did a similar tour and we decided that the real need for the AV industry was education and so we wanted to put together an educational venue. We also wanted to expound on that and have a place where people could explore new products, exchange ideas, and really make it into a networking event for the industry. [Timestamp: 1:26]
All right and there are a lot of things going on in this. I looked at the website and familiarized myself with it a little and there’s so much going on at the E4 event. It would seem to me that when you walk in it’s going to be a situation of, “What do I do first?” So what’s offered at the E4 show?
Melody: Well the first thing that’s going to be happening in the morning is a keynote address by Gary Kayye and he’s going to be discussing how people in the pro AV industry really need to get into the game with digital signage and get into that market and he’s going to be presenting really a six-step process for addressing how you can be profitable in the digital signage market. So that’s the very first thing happening and then after that our exhibit hall opens and we’re going to have over 30 manufacturers exhibiting everything from flat-panel displays, projectors, control systems, cabling connectivity—everything that a pro AV consultant or integrator would need to design a system. And then going on throughout the day we’ve got several classes. Some are presented by InfoComm and some are presented by our manufacturing partners. [Timestamp: 2:33]
All right so if you want to get in on this and get in on the ground floor, how do you get registered and what should you do as soon as you get there?
Melody: Well you go to www.e4avtour.com and we have two opportunities coming up for learning. One is April 6 and that is in San Francisco and the next one is April 21 and that is in Dallas, Texas. So you can go online register for either one of those events and if you can’t make it to Dallas or San Francisco we actually have an online component where you can sign up and see videos on demand. We’ll be tweeting from the show floor, posting blogs—we’ll have videos from the show floor that we’ll be uploading all day. And when you get there, just come in and look for the signs that say registration or register and grab your badge and you’re on your way. [Timestamp: 3:26]
And that’s fantastic that you’ve got some online components with this because I would imagine that there would be a whole lot of people who for whatever reason could not travel and instead could take advantage of the online part of it. Let’s hope that you have a big crowd in San Francisco though. It’s seems as though you will from all that you’ve got going on there. There’ll be a lot of manufacturers there so what sort of product training will there be?
Melody: Yes we have a training session from Max Kopsho who’s with Kramer, who actually was named InfoComm Instructor of The Year last year, and he’s going to be talking about the analog sunset which is a really popular topic with a lot of myths and misconceptions. So he’s going to be talking about that. In addition we have Alan and Jonathan Brawn. They’re going to be teaching several classes one is going to be on video walls and talking about that in regard to Samsung technology. They’re also going to be doing a course on projection screens and all these courses that I have just described do have InfoComm CTS renewal units assigned to those. As a matter of fact probably 80 percent of the classes that we have we can earn CTS renewal units. So we really focus on very high-quality education in our partnership with InfoComm and making sure that people have those learning opportunities to get those credits. [Timestamp: 4:45]
I noticed all the InfoComm renewal units listed after just about everything on there so if you have a rating and you’re out to keep it current it looks like a lot of opportunities there and it looks as though you have a few other things to up the ante here. I noticed there were some prizes that are going to be given away.
Melody: Yes, our prize drawing is really popular. That happens at 2:30 p.m. each day and we have everything from flat-panel displays and Blu-rays and DVR’s and our big prize drawing is a 3D entertainment package. It’s a Samsung 3D plasma, 3D Blu-ray player and two pairs of glasses so you can set up a brand new 3D home theater. [Timestamp: 5:27]
Fantastic. And it looks like there are going to be a lot of speakers for a wide choice of events that you can get in on. Who else is going to be speaking at the event?
Melody: Well one new course that we’re offering on this part of the tour is with AMX and its Emerging trends In Configurable Control Systems and this is going to be from Justin Kennedy, a product manager who’s been with AMX for 14 years. So we’re really excited about having that class and in addition to that I think Sam has actually got an announcement that he’d like to share with the audience about our relationship with AMX. [Timestamp: 6]
Right, I’ve seen some things about that. Sam let’s hear it.
Sam: Well at Almo Pro AV we’re proud to announce that AMX has selected us as their first distributor for their full line of programmable controllers and this allows us to offer to our integrators and our integrators to offer to their customers a complete solution. Where you will already have the displays, audio signal transmission, and distribution, now we have the full line of AMX programmable controllers to control the environment and this makes us unique in the industry and further enhances our value at a position in the pro AV industry. [Timestamp: 6:33]
And of course no small part of that is the fact that AMX has such a wide range of hardware that can be applied to just about any kind of control situation. So it sounds like a very good partnership.
Sam: Yeah it is. We started off with their digital signage products and some of their signal transmission and distribution products and now they’ve given us access…so we’ve done well with the products and they’ve given us access to their full line. So you’re right they do have solutions from very complex solutions that require programming down to solutions where it’s more prepackaged and less programming involved. [Timestamp: 7:08]
And a big part of the success of any control system manufacturer is the support segment which is especially critical in multi-room environments like on a higher ed campus. The quality of support can make all the difference in the success of the products.
Sam: You’re exactly right. It certainly does. Its one thing to put it in and make it work but you also have to be able to support it after it’s installed. [Timestamp: 7:29]
I know you’ve done some of these tours before so how has the response been at some of the previous events?
Melody: Well we’ve had five events. They started in 2009 in New York City and since then we’ve had over 2,000 attendees and we have issued over 1,000 CTS renewal units so I think that we can definitely classify that as success. We’ve also had over 20,000 views of our online videos from the events so as we were talking about earlier a lot of people can’t travel and can’t be in New York or San Francisco. But we offer an opportunity for them to download the presentations and see the videos and really trying and make sure that all of our resellers across the country and other constituents have access to all this content that we’re bring together in one place. [Timestamp: 8:17]
Well it sure sounds like it’s going to be the place to be and that’s at San Francisco on April 6 and that’s when it all happens. The big challenge, I think, is going to be what to do first and it may be a good idea to go on the website in advance and look over what’s going to be offered and come up with a game plan of what you’re interested in…and like planning for InfoComm—getting an idea of what you’re going to do and in what order and to take the best advantage of it.
Melody: Yeah, absolutely. We do offer a pretty robust schedule of classes based on everyone’s interests. We’ve added a new course on basic audio and quantifying background noise. We’ve had several requests from past tours for audio courses and that’s a big focus for us here at Almo Pro AV. And then a really popular course that we’ve done at all the tours has been AV and IT convergence and this is really going to be a class teaching people how to work with the IT manager, learning the lingo and the ins and outs of working with those IT departments on AV projects. So there are a lot of different topics to choose from based on your application and your interests. [Timestamp: 9:22]
And in Part 2 we’re going to be going into more details of the E4 event with Allan and Jonathan Brawn&mdashprinciples at Brawn Consulting who will be speaking at E4 and from Kramer Electronics Max Kopsho, InfoComm’s educator of the year, will also be joining us so plenty in store for Part 2. Sam Taylor and Melody Craigmyle from Almo Professional AV thanks for being with us for Part 1.