Heart of Change
Jul 14, 2009 5:02 PM,
By Michael Goldman
As you can read in this issue’s Associations Focus section, InfoComm International is reporting solid attendance and exhibitor figures—within the context of the state of the economy anyway—calling the Orlando, Fla., show the biggest East Coast InfoComm show yet. As InfoComm Executive Director Randal Lemke, Ph.D., hints in his POV column, it’s clear the organization is gazing outward toward the AV industry’s larger future.
In his column, Lemke points us to the InfoComm 100 white paper, prognosticating about near-term future trends within the AV industry and also to the AV Megatrends white paper he co-authored recently with InfoComm Senior Market Research Analyst Mary Baehr, CTS, PRC. Both of those reports can be found on InfoComm’s website (www.infocomm.org), and I suggest checking them out.
The trends in the reports were not all revolutionary. Many of them, such as the continued greening of our industry and the ongoing convergence of AV and IT into what might eventually come to be an entirely new hybrid discipline, have been on savvy AV professionals’ radars for years. What stands out in these reports is the context for many of these changes, and the speed with which they are happening.
These two reports together, and other trends that were obvious at this year’s show, plainly illustrate that the AV industry is transitioning radically. It’s an exciting transition because it’s part of larger, fundamental, global transitions. Social networking, for instance—which recently flexed its muscles in global affairs as a tool used in Iran to communicate around harsh government restrictions—is cited in the InfoComm 100 white paper as “a primary demographic assumption” about those who make up the market for and use AV technologies. “Social media will become the norm for collaboration, socialization, decision-making, and connection,” the report says.
These things are all part of the great communication revolution. What both reports imply is that our industry lies at the beating heart of that revolution. Though once considered niche, professional as opposed to consumer, and separate from the larger IT revolution, all evidence suggests that AV is instead converging with and becoming the engine for these changes. Indeed, the InfoComm 100 white paper insists there is “a blurring between consumer and professional markets” going on right now. How else can you explain that the most ubiquitous of modern consumer devices—the iPod/iPhone phenomenon—has quickly become a technology that is now a no-brainer for easy integration with modern, permanently installed AV systems?
That happened over the course of just a couple of years. Thus, it’s reasonable to predict we’ll be seeing more such changes/evolutions—those we can predict today and ones very few of us have any clue are coming—taking place between now and next InfoComm, let alone two years to three years down the road.