Archive | September, 2011
September 26, 2011

Audio Students & AV Pros Mix it Up in Chicago

The Columbia College Audio Arts + Acoustics (AA+A) brought a dozen students to InfoComm’s Member Roundtable on September 20, 2011. Students gained valuable insight into the latest AV industry trends and issues.

Following the Roundtable, InfoComm staff and members were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the AA+A Department by Jeff Lipp, CTS-D and David McNutt, InfoComm members and instructors at Columbia College.

AA+A features state of the art studio spaces and research facilities for all future AV leaders including recording control rooms and studios, smart classrooms, acoustics research labs and an audio reverberation chamber housed in a 1920’s era bank vault. AA+A is unique among audio programs in offering such in–depth and hands-on educational experiences in Live and Installed Sound, Acoustics (BS Degree), Audio for Visual Media and Audio Design & Production.

September 23, 2011

InfoComm 100: Day 2

InfoComm 100: Day 2

We’re entering the home stretch of the InfoComm 100 here in Portland, OR. As I write this, business consultants Tom Stimson of The Stimson Group, Bill Sharer of Exxel Management & Marketing Corp., and Kit Lisle of Acclaro Growth Partners are trying to sum up the two-day think tank and offer a to-do list to attendees. We’ll be presenting all their findings in the coming days and weeks. (Preview: Do AV companies need to radically changes their sales models to compete in a net-centric world? Do they need to settle for single-digit margins?)

The theme of this InfoComm 100 was succeeding in a converged AV/IT world. Today started with author, business consultant, and social networking strategist David Nour offering a blueprint for innovation, as well as what innovation is and isn’t (quote of the keynote: “Doing something differently is innovation; doing something better is just incrementalism”).

Acclaro Growth Partners then presented new qualitative research based on interivews with AV and IT professionals and how they see the converged industries. Insight #1: AV pros attribute margin drops to the recession; IT pros attribute them to convergence. Insight #2: The AV industry is becoming more IT-like, not the other way around. And there’s plenty more to glean from the new study.

Finally, Dale Johnson (pictured standing, along with InfoComm Senior Vice President of Membership Services Duffy Wilbert ), president and CEO of the Technology Assurance Group (a for-profit industry group representing the voice and data VAR industries), got people thinking about whether it’s best to cooperate, compete, or coordinate with IT and voice companies (hint: he thinks the best opportunities are behind curtain #3).

Overall, a fantastic two days of networking, brainstorming, and strategizing. Check back often for information culled from the 2011 InfoComm 100 that you can apply to your businesses today.

 

September 23, 2011

Waving the AV Flag in the Windy City

Waving the AV Flag in the Windy City

InfoComm wrapped up three great days in Chicago with events aimed at industry awareness and outreach.

On Tuesday, September 21, AV tech managers and end-users experienced a full-day mini expo complete with presentations on the latest and greatest in digital signage, unified communications and emergency communications. Attendees also had time to visit booths with various product demos and AV experts from Chief, Biamp, Bosch, Digital Projection, Inc. and Listen Technologies.

Rounding out our industry awareness events was a half-day seminar for meeting planners featuring sessions on the state of the meetings industry as well as the latest AV gadgets to help their meetings pop.

From our InfoComm Member Roundtable, to our outreach events InfoComm made a big splash in the Windy City.

September 22, 2011

InfoComm 100: Day 1 Wrap-Up

The first day of the InfoComm 100 in Portland, OR, is almost in the books. All that’s left are a lot of networking and dining. The day kicked off with InfoComm International CEO Randal Lemke, Ph.D., underscoring what the association would focus on in the months ahead, namely, thought leadership around a number of topics that will prove critical to the pro AV industry: standards, intelligent buildings, sustainability, and more. (InfoComm will of course continue to take its trade shows around the globe and educate the next generation of AV pros. Did you know there were more than 7,300 CTS holders?)

After Randy wrapped up, attendees were treated to a thought-provoking keynote address by futurist Dan Burrus (pictured), who tried to get the crowd thinking in a way that would help them anticipate trends that would change their businesses. At the heart of his message was a pretty important notion (and I paraphrase): Change is inevitable and we may not like it. But, as he put it, bad change is really just change that affects you (or your business) that you didn’t see coming. And in a theme I expect will come up throughout the meeting, Burrus emphasized that today’s youth have grown up with technology and think differently than older generations. As you’re plotting your company’s future, you have to have some of those young people in the room with you.

Next up were Mark Valenti, president and CEO of The Sextant Group, and Andrew Milne, CEO of Tidebreak. Their task: look into the future of AV and IT technologies. We can all talk about “the cloud,” 3D, virtual reality, pervasive video, smart phones, iPads, and other IT-like systems until we’re blue in the face, but to hear AV guys talking about how they believe such disruptive technologies will bleed into our industry is a wake-up call.

More tomorrow.

September 22, 2011

InfoComm 100 Gather in Portland

InfoComm 100 Gather in Portland

The InfoComm 100, an annual gathering of audiovisual industry thought leaders, kicks off today here in beautiful Portland, OR. The high-level agenda was mapped out by the InfoComm Leadership Development Committee. It will cover the ongoing convergence of AV and IT systems and its impact on AV professionals and their businesses — now and in the future.

Highlights include keynotes by best-selling author and technology forecaster Daniel Burrus on predicting the future (and capitalizing) and strategist David Nour on “adaptive innovation,” the disruptive process of changing your business model to meet changes in the market.

We’ll also be hearing from Dale Johnson, CEO of the Technology Assurance Group, on whether it’s best to compete or collaborate with IT companies. AND (big and) we’ll hear about new, original research from Kit Lisle and Acclaro Growth Partners about what IT companies really think of AV and vice versa.

Check back for updates, and follow the goings-on in real time on Twitter (@InfoComm and @GrimesProAV).

Thanks to a litany of great sponsors, including Biamp Systems, Digital Projection, FSR, Peerless-AV, Bose, Chief, Cisco Systems, Crestron Electronics, Herman Procurement and Logistics, Meyer Sound, Middle Atlantic Products, Planar, Sonic Foundry, Stirling Communications Supply Co. (represented by Symco), Synnex and Williams Sound.

September 20, 2011

Greetings from the Windy City

Greetings from the Windy City

InfoComm breezed through the first day of its three-day membership & outreach events in the Chicago. Day one got off to a great start with Manufacturers’ Training sessions from Biamp, Chief, Cisco and Digital Projection. The afternoon session included presentations covering finacial best practices and digital signage. The day ended with a lively roundtable discussion amongst InfoComm members and future audiovisual industry leaders, including 20 AV students from nearby Columbia College, who stopped by to gain valuable industry insight. InfoComm staff is looking forward to repeat success during the remainder of our trip in the heartland!