By Taylor Meyer
Getting to Orlando, Florida for my first ever tradeshow was an experience. There was a huge storm in Minneapolis so our flight was delayed. We were listening to the hail bounce off the plane which was slightly terrifying, but finally once the storm passed — we had lift off! I was so excited to get to Florida and relax and enjoy some nice Florida sun. Once we landed in Orlando, it was a gloomy day – not what I was hoping for! My dad, Scott Meyer of Electrosonic was also heading to Orlando for the InfoComm17 show. I was so excited to experience my first tradeshow with him! Then the rain came – for almost 5 straight days! Sunday and Monday were relaxing, I was able to work on homework, sit out by the pool, and sleep before the experience I was about to have.
Incredible. The first step inside of the Orlando convention center was eye opening. The signs and the people running around were eye-opening because everyone knew exactly where to be and I looked like a lost child looking for my mom! After I met up with Corey Moss (I’m a Crew member on the Convergent AV podcast The AV Life) for the first time in person on Tuesday, I could relax a little bit and take in all the running around that was going on.
New Experiences. I shadowed Corey around on Tuesday where we went to a couple of Emerging Trends talks and he knew EVERYONE. I can’t even begin to remember all the people I met! Corey would find someone and they would know about Corey and he would introduce me and I would get their business card and add it to my collection of people I will someday email when I get a chance! (People, I promise your cards didn’t get thrown away! I barely had time to write this blog). On Tuesday afternoon, Corey brought me to the Starin booth and introduced me to Malissa Dillman. Malissa was an absolutely incredible woman who took me under her wing and let me help out with setting up the “AV Selfie booth” and packing up gift bags for InfoComm attendees! I spent the entire afternoon setting up, having fun, and meeting people with Malissa while Corey got some work done. I connected with many people that evening at the InfoComm welcome party as well as at O’Shucks for some InfoComm Karaoke!
Fascinating. Wednesday morning came, and Corey had set up a couple of meetings with companies so we could interview them and get some footage. I headed to the Biamp booth for our first interview at 10:00. I didn’t have anything to compare to as I was walking onto the show floor. In my head I was imagining the Iowa State University College of Engineering Career Fair where each company has a tiny booth where everyone crowds around and they are swamped within seconds. That was not this experience at all. I walked onto the show floor and my jaw dropped. These booths had two levels, wood floors, conference rooms, and huge screens.
Overwhelming. I had no idea what Corey had planned for the next couple of days so Wednesday was a complete blur to me. It was one booth to another, pretty much running across the floor, figuring out where each booth was and how the booths were ordered! Good thing I brought some snacks from the hotel for lunch! Finally there was a little break and I was able to grab some food from the food trucks and then watch the award ceremony at the Center Stage in the convention center. After the awards, it was back on the run going booth to booth for the rest of the afternoon.
Crazy. As you can tell, I was not prepared for any of the craziness that was happening! Luckily, I had an incredible mentor that walked around with me, introduced me to new people and made me feel at home. I was very interested in finding new people to talk to so I could learn more about the AV world, as I don’t have a lot of experience in this industry. On Thursday, Corey had more meetings with companies where we hosted interviews and learned more about their newest products and designs.
Opportunities. I love meeting new people and learning more about who they are and what they do within their company. I had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people who could share their extensive knowledge about their company and actually show me how their products could be incorporated into the real world. After meeting with Robin Raulf-Sager from Logitech at their booth, she arranged a demo of the Meetup ConferenceCam for Corey and me, where we were able to witness the wide angle of the camera allowing for an entire room to be seen while in a video conference. I was able to get a demonstration with BenQ on the JamBoard, which was set up ahead of time by Veronica Esbona of InGear for Corey, and Screen Innovations gave me a detailed history on their journey to be the first screen in space! At InfoComm the opportunities were endless because I met so many people and learned so much in a short amount of time!
Mad Chaos. An entire crazy week of running, talking, interviews and coffee went by in a flash! There just wasn’t enough time in a day to talk to everyone I wanted to and to learn about each of the company’s products in full detail.
Mind-Blowing. As I have repeatedly said… I had no idea how insane this show was going to be. After 3 crazy days of interviews, running around, getting hundreds of business cards, and taking hundreds of pictures, the show was coming to an end. On Thursday night, I went to my hotel and sorted through the business cards I had received and spent the night reminiscing and looking up all these new companies that I had never even heard of before the trip. The plane ride home was a whirlwind of memories that had been made throughout a short week with new connections and incredible opportunities.
Thank you InfoComm for an incredible first experience! I’ll be back.
Taylor Meyer is a mechanical engineering student at Iowa State University who is also a Co-Project Director for the University’s Cyclone Space Mining, a group of students who design and build a Martian robot to compete in the annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition. Taylor has a passion for robotics (along with artificial intelligence) and hopes to one day work in the field.