By Corey Moss

It was two plus years ago at InfoComm 2015 that I sat waiting for the keynote session (on IoT) to begin, when InfoComm International Executive Director and CEO David Labuskes walked to the podium to deliver what would be another excellent and inspiring speech for the attendees. While listening to this speech delivered by the leader of the AV industry, there was one thing that I was truly captivated with – that being his detailing of the “exceptional experience.” This was the rollout of a mantra which the industry organization put out with full force behind it – provide an exceptional experience in all facets of what you do as a member of the industry. Simple, to the point, and it’s what’s ultimately necessary to do business in all of the right ways.

Now as we fast forward to September 2017 (and interestingly enough we heard that this rebrand has been two years in the making), we notice that the industry organization rebranded as AVIXA, has led off with the AV which didn’t of course exist in the InfoComm name (nor did it exist as a part of ICIA), and ends with the A for association. No confusion at all there. I heard Dave Labuskes told a great campfire story before presenting AVIXA to the room of selected invitees, as I can only imagine it was a very good one.

In terms of a question “is it just a name change” which you’ll see in the FAQ section of the website, this is what you’ll see as the answer:

A. No. In addition to the reasons mentioned earlier for changing our name, we wanted AVIXA to communicate how we have evolved as an association. For 78 years, under a variety of names, AVIXA has been committed to promoting the commercial AV industry — to providing education, certification, standards, tradeshows, and more. We still intend to be the hub for everything AV, facilitating community, communication, and connections among members of the industry.

Yet it’s the IX in the middle, which represents experience alright – integrated experience. To break this down, AVIXA states in an answer to the question “what is an integrated experience?” in the FAQ:

A. An important question. At its heart, an audiovisual experience is an integrated experience because it combines what people see and hear — and it has to be done well for the experience to have the correct impact.  But as technology has evolved, an integrated experience has come to include more, such as lighting, control, information technology, sensors, mobile device integration, and more. AV professionals are expert in combining all of these to create new and better experiences for customers. And an exceptional experience, as AVIXA has come to define it, is an integrated experience because it accounts for the right mix of content, space, and technology to exceed people’s expectations. The AV industry is absolutely in the integrated experience business. Our association’s name now reflects that.

Now, when you discuss an exceptional experience in terms of any conversation you might have, whether it be providing AV integration or mobile applications, the be-all end-all target is always satisfaction. That being satisfaction on all ends because face it – if the client is satisfied with the outcome but the integrator is not, there lies a problem.

Is that confusing? Hardly as I have been a part of situations in my time in commercial integration sales where in the end the client was satisfied with an install, and I was frustrated as could be with all of the hoops I had to jump through to make it perfect in the end. It could have been a manufacturer issue, an issue with project management, programming, etc. I was one of those cradle to grave sales people, I was not satisfied with a less than satisfactory job outcome in any way. And trust me, the people in the company knew it – all the way up to the owner.

So do I speak from experience here? I’d like to think that I do in my time in commercial integration and in this way it should be all about the integrated experience for everyone involved.

However being in the media for the last four plus years, I have to say that the addition of conversations I’ve had with people around the world – industry executives and influencers – along with experiences that I’ve had with the industry shows that are different from when I attended as an integrator, have further shaped my thoughts in all of this.

I just read a blog where the writer talks about being empowered by AVIXA – has this empowered you? I must say that the industry name change, while being questioned from all corners of the world when it was announced, is empowering in certain ways, I do feel it too. In fact, I have had more “experience” conversations lately than ever before and I feel that AVIXA has in a way propelled these discussions for me, as it should for all who want to make the difference in the industry. On a recent podcast, my good friend Cory Schaeffer of QSC, who was in the room during the AVIXA announcement, had a conversation with us about AVIXA and user experience – it actually became a natural flow of discussion, as it should.

Here is part of the discussion from ‘The AV Life’ episode 49 with Cory as she talks about building a winning platform vs. product, along with serving the customer well (she also refers to QSC CEO Joe Pham here):

 

Where it’s specified that technology has evolved, it evolves not every week, not every day, but almost every moment – turn around and new technology discussions show up on the online pages of the industry publications, as well as TechCrunch, Ars Technica, Forbes Tech and other well-known global tech publications. One must keep up on what’s taking place in the world of tech in terms of software, cloud and mobility especially, as these are the technologies driving the business, education, etc. world into the future. The box is coming up on the discussion of “dead.” Period.

I kept a watch on Microsoft Ignite which took place this week – where main discussions focused on Mixed Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing to go along with Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and more. All “AV industry discussions,” perhaps except for quantum computing, however one never knows.

Yes, the projector and display discussion will be around for a while, however what happens when this all becomes software/cloud/mobile device driven? Augmented reality has arrived in a huge way, and virtual and immersive experiences are captivating us as we go – VIRTULARIUM at NEC’s booth at InfoComm was one of those enthralling and captivating instances for me, and I have to thank Richard Ventura, Vice President of Strategy at NEC Display Solutions for introducing me to that whole new world of possibilities – which includes an outstanding partner experience conversation as well.  For me, this is one of the true embodiments of an “integrated experience.”

Where we are now as an industry, with a rebranded and re-focused industry organization promoting the integrated experience, along with AV and the association, is the direction we may have truly needed. It’s to be seen of course, and we’ll all be keeping a close watch on this integrated experience, as well as the FAQ.

Here is the full AVIXA FAQ page.

‘The AV Life’ Episode 49 is here.

Me at Barco

With over 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent AV. Corey writes for the publication and hosts/produces podcasts – The AV Life, Convergent Tech Talk and Making a Marketer. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers.