By Corey Moss

I had recently seen on Twitter something about a discussion which had been taking place in the AM on Sundays and I thought I would check it out. I reached out to Chris Neto who moderates the discussion to ask if anyone could join, the answer was yes. The conversation is called #AVinTheAM and is solely Twitter-post based, no video or audio. Just participate at will.

The conversation had already gotten underway when I joined, topics are posted and those involved can tweet responses. I started to read some to get the gist of conversations, some serious replies and some joking – pretty much what I expected.

One topic that was posted had to do with trade shows, AV compared to others, and in particular IT. Since coming to the Washington DC Metro area in 2012 I have attended a fair share of non-AV related, from conferences and smaller shows in hotels to large trade shows in the convention center. It was at a time when I decided to take perspective beyond AV (having been in commercial AV integration sales for so long) as I had become more intrigued with mobility/BYOD and cybersecurity. I started a new company to be focused on AV, IT and other areas of technology, and also began writing on these topics for another publication, I still do today.

This was also linked to “the experience” discussion that has been a growing part of the AV industry ever since the InfoComm Intl. rebrand – AVIXA, the X for experience.

This tweet then popped up:

You bring up an interesting point. Where does Cyber Security fit into the “Experience”? Technically its tech that operates 24×7 in the background. If ignored it can create chaos but if done right the end-user doesn’t see it (out of sight – out of mind) .

My response:

Unlike AV, cybersecurity doesn’t fit in the experience discussion as it is unseen by all except those who are doing the monitoring in the background, & that could be at the provider too. The right cybersecurity solution provides “peace of mind” rather than experience.

Then came this response:

Would you say that cybersecurity is really about the lack of a bad experience? Peace of mind is a highly valued attribute in any system.

Interesting, referring to cybersecurity in this way. My mind went right to the Equifax breach which I had written about, where the “bad experience” extended way beyond the company itself – hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. They were also able to obtain personal information of people in the UK and Canada too. When reading the article you’ll see who the Chief Security Officer (CSO) was, and just how unqualified she was too. There were absolutely no mitigating controls in places, and the CIO was just as much to blame, as well as CEO Richard Smith who was responsible for this whole mess.

I have to wonder when referring to anything in the AV industry nowadays, if experience isn’t in the back (or front) of anyone’s mind when having the discussion. Another conversation had to do with TIDE, the pre-InfoComm and ISE show floor day-long thought-leadership conference (as advertised) that includes numerous speakers talking about many different topics:

TIDE is an all-new thought-leadership conference on the intersection of content, space, and technology, and how all three elements can come together to communicate brand values, immerse customers in exceptional experiences and ultimately, contribute to the bottom line. 

While TIDE has been talked about as an exceptional conference experience at InfoComm and ISE, there was a posted question concerning the cost, and exclusivity.

Does TIDE’s cost limits its potential. Some will say that the point it to make it exclusive. Thoughts?

A response:

That I really want my trade Association to create haves and have nots. The event should be for the entire membership not just the Top 1%! The show is soooo expensive all the way around. Diminishing returns

Another response:

$799 or $999 to attend? It seems elitist IMHO.

And another:

Is it elitist or elite? Does the quality of presenters and content merit the cost? Is that a fair market rate for presenters of that caliber?

And mine:

I was very surprised last year when I heard about the cost – that something so beneficial to the attendees as it was advertised could be so costly. It seems in line with selling the best solution for the highest cost possible, where only the Fortune companies can afford it.

The point made here in terms of quality of presenters and content meriting the cost is a most interesting one in that the cost of conferences can vary greatly, though normally you are paying for and attending a conference that is designed to be the focal point. This becomes key though when it’s positioned as “communicate brand values, immerse customers in exceptional experiences and ultimately, contribute to the bottom line.”

Now the question – are we focusing too much on this “exceptional experience” where it may also be getting to a point where such opportunities as this could become too cost prohibitive for the general AV public? And in that respect, why couldn’t TIDE be something that stands on its own as a conference for people to attend – in fact maybe make it a two day event that travels to different regions through the year, in the U.S. and abroad. This way possibly certain experts more local to those conferences will present, and in this way costs could possibly be reduced as well. Regional shows also became a topic of the hashtag conversation, and I am a big fan of them.

There are even conferences that are designed as business leadership that can come at a premium, however one can determine if it is worth the cost to attend it. When advertised as an exceptional experience, ultimately contributing to the bottom line – that’s where I believe it should be something more focused and cost effective for the industry, again possibly on a regional basis. I’d personally rather see more informative and educational breakout sessions directed toward AV industry business with a measure of end user focus that day at InfoComm. I don’t attend ISE, and I’d be interested to hear from those who do on that perspective.

Which also makes me wonder – are we possibly getting to the point now of “experience overload” in AV?

Let’s see if maybe that subject comes up in the next #AVintheAM…

(Note: the names of the people contributing these tweets were purposely not printed here, you can look up #AVintheAM on Twitter to find them, and more. I did point out my responses). 

Header image: CC0 Creative Commons.

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, The Collaboration Factor and Convergent Tech Talk. 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. Find him talking about a whole lot of things, tech and otherwise. On LinkedIn