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Trade Shows

This month’s theme is on trade shows. Each June I tend to write something about how to support daily operations while also attending trade shows. This year I am going to write something a little different. If you have spent any time in the pro AV industry you most likely have heard of InfoComm. This year, I was able to view InfoComm through different lenses.


The Presenter Lens:

This was my second year presenting at InfoComm. This year I was part of two different education sessions. The first one I was part of a group who gave a 2.5 hours hands-on lab on how to design a classroom. This session had a quick presentation and then the class, of 60 students, was broken into groups.  While working on their project the presenters would provide real world situations that could impact their project. The second presentation was on Unicast and Multicast which I was on a panel. This 30 min session was more a higher level and things to consider when dealing with unicast and/or multicast and AV. 


You might be wondering what these two presentations have to do with IT in AV? The answer to this question is how both of these sessions have a lot of talk that cross with IT. We have to talk about putting our AV equipment onto the IT infrastructure. AV folks need to be able to understand the impact their equipment has when they do use the IT infrastructure and seeing that pro AV trade shows are holding more and more sessions on this it is refreshing to see. 


The New Eyes Lens:

This year I was able to have my team attend the show. This allowed me to see the show from a fresh pair of eyes. It also helps remind me why someone might attend a trade show. You have the person who attends to see the gear, you have the person who attends the show to attend the education sessions, you have the person who attends the show to network with others, and then you have the person who attends the show to find a solution to a problem.  Being able to see the show through new lenses allowed me to understand why I attend trade shows. When I first started it was to attend the education sessions but now it's more about having higher level discussions with key folks from the manufacturers.


No matter why you might attend the show, the key thing to remember is what value are you bringing back with you! If you are there for the gear, then how can the gear improve your work environment? How does it fit into your current system?  If you are attending the education sessions, what did you learn? Can you apply it to your job? If you attend to network with people, who did you make a connection with? How can this person help you? How can they help your school?  Or if you attend to talk to key folks, did you have those discussions? Did they listen? Do you feel you were heard? 



This was the second year that HETMA had a booth on the show floor. This year the HETMA’s booth was a double decker 20x20. This booth came together with outstanding work from all the HETMA members who attended. There were members who came in early to help build the booth, there were members who stayed late on Friday to tear the booth down. This was the first time I was able to have an exhibitor badge and get to see all the work folks put into building their booths; which allowed me to see the show from a totally different lens. With everything I had going on this year I was not at the booth as much as I would like but each time I went back the booth was packed. The HETMA members did an outstanding job at running the booth as well as running the education summit. Just like all the other exhibitors, HETMA staffed the booth all three days but it was done a little differently. The folks working the booth do not work for HETMA. These are folks who have full time jobs as technology managers in schools across the country and even some overseas. These folks are not getting paid to scan badges and talk about an ‘end-user’ group that sells nothing. What HETMA has done in the last 5 years has been nothing but amazing. This is due to the members having an understanding of why this organization was founded and believing in the why.   



If you have read this far I would like to thank you. You also might be wondering, again, what does any of this have to do with IT in AV? I feel IT is a very general topic and it covers more than just networks or computers.  As I have said in the past, IT is more about how we do things and less about what we use to do it.