TechDecisions Managing Editor Jonathan Blackwood spoke with Jason Lund, Director of IT and AV at Atmosphere Commercial Interiors, to discuss his experience as an attendee of a recent AVI-SPL TechXchange Event.
JB: Which TechXchange event did you attend?
The Minneapolis St. Paul location. This was my first time attending.
JB: What made you go to the event?
First of all, we have a great relationship with AVI-SPL, but I found the presenters and the topics on the convergence of real estate and technology particularly applicable in my current role. The topics were great, and it was also a chance to take a look at some of the different products and vendors that AVI-SPL does business with, that we hadn’t had a chance to meet.
JB: What was being presented, and how did it apply to you as an end user?
We work in the commercial interior space industry, across a lot of different verticals. One of the presenters was with JLL, and she did a great overview of a number of business-related issues that can often be addressed with different technology solutions. As well as, in our case, space solutions as far as how workspace is configured. Which is actually one of the areas that AVI-SPL and Atmosphere have partnered on when solving some of our common clients’ problems together.
JB: Did you find the tradeshow helpful?
I did. It was a real compact version of the tradeshow. If you compare it to going to InfoComm, for example, it’s a much smaller scale, and therefor much easier to actually have one-on-one conversations with the vendors. You can have some good, customized, focused demonstrations of the products, and then of course set up some specific application questions about the products, versus two minute, in-and-out, tradeshow-style conversations. I found it a good format for getting in depth with a couple of vendors, specifically in the IP conferencing hardware solution space.
JB: Do you believe that you’ll continue these relationships with vendors after the show?
Absolutely. It was a great opportunity. Sometimes I get asked to provide more consultative advice for my clients, so it gave me a broader portfolio that I can recommend going forward. I would definitely attend again to maintain or build new connections.
JB: How useful did you find the event, and why is it beneficial to have an event focused on end users?
I think there is a greater burden on the end user and the consumer of technology to educate themselves. There’s this noise of all these different mediums that people are advertising to you through. I think it’s a great way to get out in front of vendors directly, and select what you want to hear. I think AVI-SPL did a great job of picking product agnostic keynote speakers, and presentations that were focused on application. I thought being able to go directly to vendors and ask questions in the context of a business problem I’m having, and have them address it directly, versus these blast emails, it was just a great venue for that. I like the smaller format versus the bigger tradeshows.
JB: Was there anything else about the show you enjoyed?
There was, in fact. The brand new US Bank Stadium just opened up. They did a full, behind the scenes tour. Unfortunately I had to leave before I could attend the tour, but it was definitely a draw. One of my techs that I took with me got to take advantage of that, and he really enjoyed it.
JB: Do you plan on attending TechXchange events in the future?
Absolutely. In fact, I’ll be bringing some of our internal business partners along that don’t normally deal in technology, because I think it’s a very approachable way to start having some of those conversations internally as well. It’s great for our business leaders to see what vendors are offering and ask some questions.