Cynthia Wisehart on InfoComm 2018

Author:
Publish date:

Two Halls. That was the first sign that something was different. Sure those two halls at the Las Vegas convention center were not as packed as you would get at NAB, but you could at least say this: InfoComm 2018 would not have fit in one hall.

The other early sign was the buzz that came off the TIDE Conference, early in the week. Kind of the TED Talk of the AV industry, it got rave reviews for programming that was designed to expand the imagination way beyond end points.

The Women in AV breakfast was sold out and packed. And rather than speeches from the dais (there were a few) there was the kind of fierce, messy networking that you often see when grassroots groups start figuring out how the cats will be herded and who is bringing the snacks.

The first InfoComm for AVIXA had a flavor of, well maybe not rebellion, but a kind of de-centralizing, and a rising up of ideas and individuals testing their wings and their ideas. After many years of taking a more topdown, hierarchical approach to service, AVIXA seems to found a new kind of energy by letting the energy flow. Not perfect, but more alive.

The word that kept coming to me was confidence. For the past few years, the energy I encountered at InfoComm was often about waking up from the post-recession rigors and finally having some room to breathe. It was about confronting an inferiority complex with IT and a real doubt about who their future client would be and whether AV would get a place at the table.

That’s not how it felt this year. There were some aggressive takes on technology, some risks, and some why-not in the mix. It was like we finally accepted that it’s not safe, so no more playing it safe. I don’t know if all the gambles will pay off, the future is particularly hard to read at the moment, but it matters less. People were having fun and putting it out there, and no one was apologizing for a change.

I will give a special callout to Yamaha for my favorite booth visit. No contest. Yes, there were flashier booths—gorgeous display at Panasonic for example—but at the Yamaha booth I was reminded of the cool factor of AV that IT cannot meet for all its smug superiority. Arranged like a mini experience center, with a fine Yamaha grand piano, a “silent” electrical bass and an occasional drop-in trumpet, it reminded me that AV really is an experience, they way it can deliver image and sound, and shape an environment to relax, invite, or impress.

Featured

Related

Cynthia Wisehart on System Design

Conferencing and collaboration is communication. That seems obvious, but is it? It’s very easy to miss the communication part when focused on the technology. That means meetings can be defeated by bad (mostly illegible) audio. But it also means that in planning, designing and ...read more

Cynthia Wisehart on AV Over IP Now

As some of you may know, I produce a bi-weekly newsletter AV Over IP. When it started over a year ago, I concentrated on stories about the underlying technology, theory, etc. About six months ago I shifted the focus to include AVoIP application stories, and candidly it was hard ...read more

Cynthia Wisehart on Dante Certification

Do you want to get started on your Dante certification? Do you want to learn the basics of VoIP for AV integrators so you can talk shop with your IT counterparts? If your New Year’s refresh was to set professional development goals, I’d like to help. There seems to be lots of ...read more

Cynthia Wisehart on Projection Mapping

Innovation in the projection mapping community has hit a period of acceleration in part driven by the longtime collaborative relationships between creatives and technologists. In this issue, our reporter Jon Silberg went to the Nature’s Best Photography Awards which were ...read more