Infocomm is an annual event that sees the biggest players in Pro AV come together and talk business innovation, technology and creative corporate developments. With 2020 set to be hosted in Las Vegas, the show didn’t quite look the way many of us had expected – but as is our ‘new normal’, InfoComm went ahead as a virtual event; and it was still a great vehicle for the latest in all things AV to be welcomed by the global market.
InfoComm Connected still saw many of the big names that would usually exhibit on stand, Sony, Zoom, Panasonic, Samsung, Google, Intel, Dell, Logitech, BOSE and Philips; but this time, they hosted presentations (both live and pre-recorded), gave key note speeches online, and joined networking events all through the InfoComm Connected web platform. Free to attend, and all accessible with just an internet connection. Saves on the jet lag!
A key benefit of virtual events, and one learnt from the InfoComm Connected platform, is that as a visitor - WHEN we engage with these topics, and HOW we engage with them, is totally in our control. Missed the speech? Its recorded and hosted on the web platform. Want to know more about an exhibitor? Their profile and presentations are all hosted online too. You can choose to be as involved or as speculative as you want. So, while in person engagement and meeting clients and customers face to face is out of the question – the accessibility and search possibilities of a virtual event make it a really strong format in this busy world.
A key topic of discussion from exhibitors, speakers and the event overall, was of course COVID-19. But not just how the world has changed forever; the key topic of discussion was how technology, and the Pro AV industry over all, needs to adapt to the ‘new normal’. That means no contact, no face to face meetings, collaboration will now be virtual, education will be largely virtual for the foreseeable, content will again become paramount, brand strength is key to survival, and of course – no more high fives.
Some noteworthy trends included:
- Contactless collaboration tools
- Smart communications, education and workplace solutions
- Contactless experiences – AI and facial recognition
- Temperature registering technology
- ‘Innovations for Tomorrow’
We break down some noteworthy tech from InfoComm20, along with some noteworthy and inspiration-filled talks from the event. And let us say this, in a COVID-19 world, it was great to see so many people and businesses innovating, adapting and having a positive hand in what the ‘new normal’ looks like for global Pro AV.
Contactless Collaboration: Kramer VIA
As you can imagine, so many tools for contactless collaboration were being showcased and discussed; and it’s really no wonder with much of the world being home based for both school and work over recent months. Some stand outs were from Maxhub LED and ViewSonic (we’ll detail this below!), but a leader in the collaborative space is Kramer Electronics USA’s, Kramer VIA. With a development story dating long before the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s collaboration for the future.
A versatile ‘family of solutions’, Kramer VIA offers solutions for the classroom, for office spaces, for meeting rooms, for huddle spaces – you name it. Forbes have even donned it as 1 of the 5 tools you need to integrate into your business operations. High praise! But ultimately it allows collaboration with ease, it ensures business efficiency even with great distance between teams and pitch audiences, and it means we can still enjoy engagement, even in isolation. Something our ‘new normal’ simply has to offer!
AI & Contactless Retail: FaceMe
Redefining what ‘smart retail’ means, CyberLink’s FaceMe is an AI facial recognition engine with insane capabilities! Breathing new life into a post-COVID retail world, this intuitive software is transforming the possibilities of ‘contactless experiences’, and ultimately ensuring optimal hygiene in store.
The software is so precise it can recognise facial features through face masks, and can even be used to authenticate payments. It can also be used to identify VIP clients when in store, and the same goes for blacklisted clients when they enter the store. With the ability to be integrated with kiosks, digital signage and more, this is a force to be reckoned with.
Whether you agree with AI facial recognition or not, it’s a powerful engine innovating fast to protect a struggling global retail sector.
Temperature Check Tech: TAURI
As you can imagine with the events of recent COVID-filled months, temperature checking technology was a noticeable addition to the Pro AV line up this year. Tech that can read your temperature from a hands-free device upon entering a building, to ensure the health and safety of others.
Aurora Multimedia have developed their own version called Tauri, The Temperature Check Tablet; a mobile device that comes in various sizes (10.1”, 15.6” or 21.5”) and can be rigged to the wall, to a table, or at face height, and has the ability to register your body temperature with incredible precision, and no physical contact. Operating with an infrared temperature sensor, Tauri can register your skin temperature from 0.5-1M away, and will give you a passed or failed status within 1 second.
This is tech for a COVID world, and with the likes of Samsung exhibiting temp check tech – it is here to stay!
‘Innovations for Tomorrow’: MyViewBoard
ViewSonic showcased various technologies this year, but one that stood out was their solution to cloud-based conferencing and collaboration, MyViewBoard. With a key focus on the education sector, this interactive white board stimulates engagement through blended learning (essential for the ‘new normal’ lifestyle), and combines intuitive content creation and distance learning techniques to transform what education looks like in a COVID world.
MyViewBoard’s features include the ability to screen record (to circulate material post-class), raise your hand feature (for anyone engaging remotely to join the conversation or ask a question), video and audio-conferencing, and more. It’s classed as an ‘innovation for tomorrow’, and an exciting development to see – ultimately it means no matter where in the world your students might be, they can engage with dynamic material and continue with their education journey.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, THE TALKS!
Early in the week it was Claus Raasted’s Live Events Spotlight, ‘Is the term ‘experience economy’ still relevant?’. A great talk about brands needing to be a universe, not just through this uncertain time, but in general. It was a lively talk on ensuring your brand can stand the test of time by being innovative, and selling your point of difference across as many touch points as you can. And a key takeaway was this quote: “The pace for change will never be as slow as it is now.” In other words, let’s be bold, try new things, and always ensure the universe or the ‘experience’ of your brand is memorable for all the right reasons.
Our Wednesday motivation was well and truly served with the session ‘Boosting your brand to capture new business in AV’. The talk was hosted by Alesia Hendley of Access Networks, and was 34 mins filled with Endless Event’s, Will Curran and Latin & Code’s, Steven Picanza insights into brand, and how powerful a strong brand can be. From brand being your road, and sales and marketing being your cars (in other words, without a strong brand, you simply can’t drive to success); to ensuring you have a strong balance of ‘reliability and delight’, and that you need to be in equal parts ‘authoritative and empathetic’ with your content. It was an inspiring combination of passionate brand experts, and really strong advice on how important brand strength is to any business.
Overall, InfoComm Connected was a dynamic virtual event that offered a strong combination of new tech, insightful talks and presentations, and a strong variety of business innovations. It was a great format for a COVID-19 world, ensuring the health and safety of everyone was maintained, and it gave us hope for what’s ahead.
What the ‘new normal’ will look like for global Pro AV, only time will tell. But based on what we saw, the sky is the limit – and the Pro AV industry has what it takes to get us there.