My first Infocomm was about 15 years ago not long after I was promoted to Director of Product Development at Telesuite. That was back in the projector shootout days and since our product was based around them it was where I could see the best the industry offered all in one spot. The products I've worked on have changed over the years, but Infocomm is still the best place to see our industry's products.
Let's take a look at some of the reasons why I enjoy the show.
What is New?
Infocomm's show floor contain some of the newest products by the best companies in the industry. There are only so many articles and reviews about this product or that before I need to take them for a test drive myself. The first time I went was to check out projectors, then over the years it's morphed to plasma displays, LCD, soft codecs, cloud bridges and now to hardware VC products.
What Can I Integrate?
The furniture designer in me loves all the cool products that get integrated into conference tables, credenzas, desks, etc. It's nice to get a touch and feel of things that I would normally have to buy and get shipped to me just to play with them. It's also cool to see all the new collaboration gear that we can put in our conference rooms to (hopefully) make everyone's lives easier.
Who is New?
It's always great to see the new guys on the block (whoever they may be) displaying their stuff at the show. Many times it's the new guys who have the big ideas so I never forget to check out the smaller booths of the companies that don't have the budget of Cisco.
The current buzz "phrase" is huddle rooms. It will be interesting to see how many pieces of marketing material I see with that phrase this year. The show is a good way to gauge vendor's attitudes on current trends as well.
This is subjective for everyone. I like to see cool stuff. That usually means pieces of gear that do cool things. Mersive's Solstice comes to mind. It blew me away when I saw it live. I also like large displays that are thin and have little bezels. Also, I am always interested in new image acquisition devices and new pieces of video conferencing hardware in general. That's what is cool to me.
Will Something Spark an Idea?
You never know when you'll see something so interesting that it turns a light bulb on in your head. Many times after a day of booth walking and a glass of wine or two, I'll come up with some cool ideas. Hopefully that happens again this year.
Infocomm is the only time of the year that I get to see some of my friends in person. Even though I see these people all the time on video, it's nice to actually get to talk to them without technology between us. It's also a good time to make new friends or meet the people you only know on Twitter or LinkedIn face to face.
Every now and again I hear grumbling from the old folk about trade shows being a necessary evil. I like to look at it as an opportunity to learn new things, see new things and reconnect to those I only typically see on video. Enjoy it, it's only once a year.