2019 InfoComm USAV Wrap-Up
By: USAV Staff
The USAV team attended InfoComm 2019, held in Orlando, FL this past June. Bill Bozeman, CEO of PSA, Chris Salazar-Mangrum, VP of USAV, Patrick Whipkey, director of USAV, Katie Blough, project management and business analyst and Brittany Board, channel marketing manager, had a jammed packed two days in the exhibit hall of the Orlando County Conference Center. We used this opportunity to reconnect with USAV Preferred Manufacturer Partners (PMP’s) and integrators as well as discover other potential partners that would bring additional growth and opportunities to the USAV group. The team also spent time exploring the new technology, both products and services, that the Pro A/V industry was introducing.
The exhibit hall is the biggest attraction for InfoComm every year. From the moment they cut the ribbon, started the music and popped the paper confetti canons, the activity in the hall was non-stop. Displays flooded the pathway of attendees, catching their eyes and ears, stopping people right in their tracks before they made their way closer. We had a full schedule of booth meetings which was very hard to stick to when there were so many interesting and amazing things to check out. The USAV PMP’s exhibiting had some very impressive exhibits that pushed the limits and expanded on existing technology. Trending themes among all the booths were the advancements in displays, showcasing 8K screens, as well as huddle room and collaborative systems for workplaces. Another important and trending topic at InfoComm was the recurring revenue structure for services. These services provide integrators a chance to offer their customers an additional offering and secure ongoing income.
Our booth tours started out with Shure and Atlas IED. Navigating the audio section is always a challenge because there are so many new technologies and as you walk by it’s easy to take a quick listen. Shure didn’t disappoint with their updated MXA 910. The latest firmware release will really help integrators and be a game changer in the conferencing world. Atlas, a long-standing partner of PSA, impressed us with their mass notification IPX product lines. They had a lot of great products, some of which you wouldn’t expect, for example, the 4-channel Dante amplifier. Even though it was hard to leave the audio section of the show floor, we had to continue on our journey.
The next stop was Sharp; their both was well laid out with different office scenarios. From huddle spaces to break rooms and boardrooms, Sharp had a scenario for all business cases. Their interactive displays were intuitive and easy to use, while their 8K display was absolutely brilliant. Sharp teamed up with Salamander Designs for all of the office furniture in their booth which made for a complete offering showcase. The sleek and simple furniture was a nice compliment to the Sharp display line.
Continuing on our show floor journey we stopped off in the Barco booth. The main focus we had revolved around their ClickShare product line. The ClickShare has come a long way from just a wireless screen sharing device. The devices are jam-packed with features and there are a few different models of the ClickShare depending on your use case.
Our next stop was at the city of Legrand AV. Their booth was so big it had its own zip code. Legrand AV has so many brands under one umbrella (Chief, Da-Lite, Middle Atlantic, & Vaddio) that it was fitting for them to have such a large footprint on the show floor. Similar to Sharp’s booth, Legrand AV was showcasing the depth and breadth of their products in typical, everyday scenarios. The booth was wide open and very clean with products showcased everywhere you looked. From screens to racks, to mounts and even cameras, there was certainly something for everyone. The classroom display was really interesting because it showcased just how many different products can go into a classroom setting.
Lunchtime is always a crazy time at InfoComm, thousands of people all trying to refuel all in the same spot. Luckily, with season veteran on the team, Patrick Whipkey, arranged for a reservation for the team and a few industry friends across the street at the Rosen Center. It was a nice little buffet that did the job of filling the belly and giving us a place to sit, eat and converse, not to mention the ice cream machine that gave us that last sugar boost we needed.
We finished lunch and headed to the NEC booth where we saw a lot of new display technology. They were showcasing how their displays, with added sensors, can provide customer behavior analytics and how this data is put into their custom software which will be for sale in the near future. They were pushing the recurring revenue model as were a lot of others, making it very evident that this is where the industry is going, selling services. They also had a lot of cool projectors and displays specifically for the retail industry including their amazing projection mapping technology.
Onward to our friends at Herman Pro. They have a great team of people to help your business in many ways. Whether you are using them for their integration services (which is nationwide) or purchasing product through them, they really have something for everyone and it was a great time getting to see their team and shared plenty of laughs with them. That is the one thing about Herman Pro, their team is always happy, always smiling and always having a party.
We then swung by and saw our friends at D-Tools. This is a great software for the integrator from proposals to drawings to a product database, D-tools can do it all. They were very busy in their booth which is a great sight so our stop was not very long.
Liberty AV Solutions was next and wow, they did not disappoint. They have teamed up with a small company out of Australia called Teleprotivity for a really cool AVaaS play that should reduce truck rolls, increase RMR and give a great client experience. We really can’t do the service justice trying to explain it. What we can say is that this system is a “game changer” and it has huge potential in many different markets. Go check it out and see for yourself. Liberty also had a bunch of other cool products including low voltage lighting that has many different uses and can be installed by any low voltage contractor.
Another stop along the way was at the Almo Professional A/V booth. Celebrating their 10th year in the Pro A/V business, they had a really cool cake, almost too good to eat, and a nice presentation to the AVIXA Foundation. Almo has a lot of great people working for them and it shows through their customer service. Their product lines continue to grow and they truly have become one of our best partners. Congratulations to them on 10 years and we look forward to many more.
SurgeX was next and they have some cool power options in the pipeline that we took a look at. They have an under table power management piece that will not only clean up all of the power management under a table but will also help with those pesky wall warts and USB power. SurgeX is known for quality power distribution and this new offering will not disappoint. They are telling us it will be shipping in January 2020.
ScanSource is always a fun and welcoming booth. If you were able to visit and see all of the cool, custom sneakers they were wearing, there is likely a chance you walked away with some ScanSource socks.
One of our final booth visits was Kramer; their booth was so bright with the white color scheme and clean lines. It was really welcoming and laid out nicely. They really have a solution for everything, whether it’s a sports bar, a corporate boardroom or a classroom, they have you covered. Their huge product line has everything from audio to control to switching and routing and even wireless collaboration. Their products are rock solid and competitively priced.
A special highlight of the event was the time spent at the numerous receptions hosted by various USAV PMPs and PSPs. This was the ideal time to put work aside and get to know our partners in a more casual setting. These receptions were also a chance for integrators and vendors to interact with each other. Being a part of USAV, we strive for collaboration among the different groups that make up our network and these after-hour events provide just that.
Every year InfoComm is a busy week for everyone who attends. We are all trying to squeeze in as many personal connections as possible. In the end, that is what makes this industry tick, the people and those connections. Yes, you could just walk the show floor and find the next best display or box that can do “x,y and z”. However, year after year, everyone comes back to see the people. Whether you have been doing the same job for 15 years or just changed jobs and went to another company within the industry, it’s great to catch up with old friends and make relationships with new people. We are looking forward to the rest of this year and are already preparing for InfoComm 2020. See you in Las Vegas!