One year ago in Las Vegas for InfoComm 2014, a fledgling organization for technology managers was holding its inaugural event, determined that the drinks, dinner, and presentation would propel the group to a year of growth and discovery. Since TechTalk’s Tips from the Trenches event in Las Vegas, the group has launched a website, created posts, podcasts, and social media platforms, and gained notoriety as a resource for technology managers to communicate and learn.
In Orlando for InfoComm 2015, TechTalk once again held what is becoming an annual Tips from the Trenches event at Maggiano’s Little Italy. Guests gathered for free drinks, appetizers, a meal, and a presentation from subject matter experts about a number of issues technology managers are facing.
After an introduction from TechTalk founders Steve Greenblatt and Marc LaVecchia about the expanding role of the technology manager, and the benefits of joining the group, dinner was served and the presentation was underway. Salmon, lasagna, chicken parmigiana, AV, and control would be on the menu for the night.
Jeff Mackie of Control Concepts began with a conversation about asset management. Essentially, asset management systems allow you to manage devices in a room, including usage of specific devices and warnings when a malfunction occurs. This helps technology managers back up their recommendations with specific data on how often devices are used by staff. Mackie went on to state that while hurdles may arise with multiple integrators and multiple vendors involved in installing an asset management system, budget concerns may make up for that by eliminating systems that malfunction often or see little use.
Guests gather for a photo at the second annual TechTalk Tips from the Trenches event.
Next Dan Worth spoke about display challenges for technology managers. Projection versus flat panel displays, LCD versus DLP, resolution, source matching, and Extended Display Identification Data (EDID) were all covered. Also, considerations such as size and location of rooms displays are installed in, height, viewing angles and surfaces, and noise and lighting problems were discussed.
Steve Greenblatt went on to detail the differences between programmed and configured control systems. A configured system relies on pre-existing code, is a more simplistic system, and can be easily deployed at relatively low costs. Programmed systems offer more flexibility as well as more complication. This approach requires software coding, which means technical knowledge is needed and the system will take more time. Steve went on to discuss which system might be a better fit for different situations.
Marc LaVecchia concluded the presentation with a casual discussion about the importance of choosing the right integration partner. He spoke about the ‘those who can’ integrators – ones that, while they can do what you’re asking, sense something about the project that might compromise their performance, and have the ability to walk away – and ‘those who must’ – ones that will compromise themselves and the project to insure they get your work, because they won’t survive without landing this project. It’s important that the technology manager identify those who must and employ those who can. That’s how good projects get finished.
Once again the night proved of value to the many technology managers in attendance. That value, however, is only a fraction of what technology managers can gain by joining the group. TechTalk hopes to expand upon its content, with several projects in the works including a potential step-by-step documentary through webcasts, podcasts, and interviews with technology managers and integrators ‘live’ throughout an ongoing project.
We look forward to seeing how the group continues to grow and inform throughout the year, and we’ll be sure to be in attendance once again when InfoComm 2016 kicks off in Vegas and TechTalk holds the third of their Tips from the Trenches events. If you would like to learn more or sign up for TechTalk, you can visit their website.