InfoComm International published a comprehensive report on the AV industry and its trade show following InfoComm 2017. While there is much to chew on, one of the demographics appears to be chaffing a vocal segment of the industry: just over 40% of the 2017 show attendees listed themselves as Technology Managers or ‘end users’. It is fair to presume that these ‘end users’ are not always designers or engineers. Their jobs aren’t necessarily specialized enough to understand how systems work.
The Trend Towards Ease of Use in AV
Nearly half of InfoComm 2017 attendees is no insignificant number.
It very well may impact who is showing, what they are showing, and how those products are developed. Are the products at InfoComm becoming simpler because the show’s attendees have a narrower understanding of how it all works? Whether or not this is a chicken-or-the-egg scenario is still to be borne out.
The general trend in systems now is “ease of installation” and management. Simply stated, this means products and solutions are intended to just work together. Installation is intended to be completed by “qualified technicians” and managed by the IT department.Over the last few years, chagrined engineering types have described nearly all of the AV industry trade shows as ‘evolutionary not revolutionary.’ The heady days of when Ethernet was new, 3D was everywhere, and a plethora of upstart companies popped up are in a period of waning.
Why? The technology has reached a significantly advanced state that this is more than possible. To be frank, labor is expensive; if a company can minimize its cost per degree, it can spend more on gear and additions.
Is Engineering Dead?
No, not quite — the need for integrators will always be there, perhaps not where some of us would like it.
Concept-shifting innovation is an adrenaline rush, filling the senses with new possibilities. It also costs extra time and money – not something many institutions or corporations desire to spend willy-nilly. It is no doubt that many of these folks are not coming to InfoComm for the cutting-edge, but for the straightforward, often incremental, solutions.
The growth in attendance at the shows is built upon these end users. It may not be what some of that vocal segment desire, but it may be what the AV industry needs.
This article was originally posted on sister publication Commercial Integrator.