AVIXA’s First-Ever Virtual InfoComm Replaced Live Show in Las Vegas in June
Even though InfoComm 2020 in Las Vegas was cancelled due to COVID-19, that didn’t stop the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association from connecting the global professional audio-visual industry on a virtual stage.
Held June 16-18, InfoComm 2020 Connected – AVIXA’s first-ever completely virtual InfoComm trade show and conference – drew in 23,408 attendees (41 percent from outside the United States) and 495 exhibitors.
“When we made the decision to cancel the InfoComm 2020 show in Las Vegas, the AVIXA team was determined to gather the industry together for an immersive experience of learning, engagement and networking in a virtual online event,” said Rochelle Richardson, senior vice president of expositions and events for AVIXA.
She continued, “The enthusiasm and participation for InfoComm 2020 Connected exceeded expectations and reinforced something we already knew: The pro AV industry is resilient.”
As the largest pro AV technology expo and conference in North America, the annual InfoComm gathers AV professionals from across the world to check out thousands of new products, learn about technology and market trends, and forge new business relationships. Last year, the annual event, which ranked No. 28 on the 2019 TSNN Top Trade Shows List, attracted more than 43,000 attendees and 927 exhibitors spanning 524,339 square feet of space at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
The virtual version of InfoComm offered 74 live sessions and on-demand presentations from 67 companies, with live sessions presented for 11 hours each day. Popular topics covered included conferencing and collaboration; fusing space, technology and content; emerging trends through the COVID crisis; higher education; and the state of the industry.
According to AVIXA officials, the virtual show’s sessions received 59,662 views, while its exhibitor showcases racked up 53,433 views. Attendees also embraced the event’s virtual networking opportunities, with 1,117 exhibitor meetings scheduled and 14,277 chat messages exchanged.
On the first day of InfoComm Connected, AVIXA CEO David Labuskes delivered a keynote address focused on AV’s role in creating a post-COVID world that combines the best of physical and virtual experiences. Kate Wik, CMO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, then joined Labuskes to discuss the safety measures the city is taking as it gradually reopens for business. The session also featured Sam Taylor, executive vice president and COO for Almo Professional A/V, who discussed the technological advancements and macroeconomic factors behind the pro AV industry’s evolution.
On the final day, the AVIXA Women’s Council hosted its annual breakfast virtually, featuring keynote speaker Sara Potecha, author of West Point Woman, who was one of the first women to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point. In front of an audience of more than 400 participants, Potecha discussed the academy’s competitive environment and the physical, educational and mental challenges she experienced, and also touched on leading through crisis with character, competence and composure.
According to Richardson, one of the greatest challenges of taking InfoComm into the digital realm was having fewer than 60 days to transition it from an in-person event to a completely virtual one.
“It was not as simple as taking everything already planned for the in-person and transition it to online – we had to make quick decisions on what we could parlay into online and create new content that resonated well virtually,” she explained. “In addition, we realized there is a tremendous requirement of staff support and engagement to provide exceptional service for the attendee experience during a virtual event. Our attendees need to feel they are a part of the community in a virtual environment just as they would at an in-person trade show.”
Although digital components could be part of the InfoComm experience going forward, InfoComm 2021 will revert back to an in-person format when it returns June 12-18 to the OCCC, Richardson added.
“Our world is undoubtedly changing, and we recognize the need to be agile and change with it,” she said. “While we anticipate virtual and hybrid to be a part of the conversation, we look forward to when we’ll return to the in-person event and everyone joins us for InfoComm 2021 in Orlando.”
The InfoComm 2020 Connected virtual platform will remain live through Aug. 21 for attendees to browse exhibitor showcases and view on-demand sessions.