Highlights of InfoComm 2014

I spent last week at InfoComm14 in Las Vegas (I know, boo hoo for me). This was my second year attending the conference on behalf of Hanson. InfoComm bills itself as the largest professional AV show in the world, and I find it a great way to get exposed to current and new technology all in one location.

InfoComm is actually two different opportunities: InfoComm University, offering AV certification, and the trade show, with almost 1000 exhibitors. Since I have AV certification through InfoComm, I attend their webinars every few weeks and take classes at the annual event in order to maintain certification.

This year’s on-site classes included a couple of standouts. One was the session on “Future Technologies,” where we talked about wi-spy (software for wifi analysis), whdi (wireless video @5ghz), wihd (60ghz in-room wireless video), wisa (wireless speaker audio) and whitespace broadcasting. These were of particular interest, because I would like to start implementing some of these technologies in our office.

Another was the session on “Next Generation Displays,” including dvdo, small interfaces, and vga, which won’t be going away anytime soon. This session helped me understand how video output for meeting and events space will be distributed in the future, and what to look for in purchasing new technologies.

I also got a lot of out of two of the keynote speakers. Mike Walsh, self-proclaimed “futurist” (who reminds me a lot of my Hanson colleague Mike Osswald), spoke about how the real challenge today isn’t keeping up with change, but re-imaginging the way we work completely. For every insight he presented, he included a “mind grenade,” a question designed to force you to think about the insight from a new perspective. This was a really helpful exercise.

The other keynoter that I enjoyed was Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman, whose experience as a fighter pilot brings a fresh perspective to the corporate world. The principles he presented are meant to unite a team into the “wingman” that a client can rely on, and I was excited to see how many of them are already in play – albeit with different lingo – here at Hanson.

Other highlights included getting a closer look at the Air Media device from Crestron, which allows users to collaborate in meetings using their own devices without having to plug in any cables, and meeting with many product experts on technologies that I am looking to expand in the Hanson workspace. My week ended with an InfoComm-sponsored AVTech tour, backstage at the Monte Carlo installation of the Blue Man Group, where we got to see some of the technology involved in making the magic. It was a grueling but exhilarating week, and I’m already looking forward to next year.