InfoComm 2020: The Year of the Virtual Conference

InfoComm 2020 was shaping up to be another year of record-breaking step counts and innovative technology showcases until COVID-19 hit the U.S. Due to health concerns, this year’s show was moved from Las Vegas, NV to a virtual conference experience. It was impressive to see how the AVIXA team was able to seamlessly put together this virtual show, with an easy-to-navigate portal, exhibitor showcases, online educational sessions, and even networking events. Some highlights from this year’s show include:

Exhibitor Showcase

Due to the online platform, the list of exhibitors was lacking. We are typically used to hundreds of booths and exhibitors for InfoComm. Additionally, the lack of physically experiencing their products and technology in person was notably missed. Exhibitors were mixed in what was provided, with some having content uploaded, some with pre-produced videos of product offerings, and others only sharing a link back to their website.

Online Educational Sessions

The online webinars were a great way to hear about some interesting topics. Many of them had technical issues, but overall the format was very well put together. The webinars featured a live chat and Q&A section, and many of the sessions allowed for AVIXA certification credits at no additional cost. This was a nice bonus, when those educational packages are typically an additional fee.

Networking Opportunities

The networking website offered a great way to reach out and connect with peers and vendors. The platform was simple to use, and proved a decent alternative to in person meetings. The current pandemic has shifted the business model for many companies. Many of the vendors focused on the future, introducing new products or product revisions that offer better capabilities for remote working and collaborating.

Overall, given the time frame, this year’s InfoComm show was well done and worth attending virtually. If AVIXA decides to go this route in the future, they’ll now have this experience under their belt and ultimately have more time to work out bugs to further enhance the experience. Although the physical show allows participants the ability to get granular with subject matter experts and discuss detailed specifics relevant to their interests; the virtual show favored access, convenience and message consistency. Content was paired down, but highly organized and there were no concerns about getting from one end of the trade show to the other in time to see the presentation.

Looking to the future, I believe it would be an excellent idea to have an InfoComm online each year, even when physical shows resume. This virtual experience can be tailored to provide at content for those who are unable to physically travel to the show, it can also help vendors reach a wider audience, and can allow attendees to gain valuable information and attend networking opportunities at their leisure. Alternatively, the physical show is a convenient way to compare similar product offerings that are in pre-release, which is challenging to achieve virtually, leading to more follow-up evaluation when the announced products start to ship this fall.

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