InfoComm 2021 returned as a combined virtual and in-person event October 22-29 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Show organizer AVIXA marked the event as an opportunity for the AV community to gather together after a 28-month hiatus due to the COVID pandemic. The event required proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test as a condition for entry, and mandated masks while at the conference.
Most attendees and exhibitors seemed appreciative of the concern organizers had for the safety and well-being of people at the show. Mask compliance seemed roughly 80-90% during the week, and attendees generally respected social distancing and other safety protocols set in place.
Nevertheless, the effects of the pandemic were apparent. InfoComm 2021 reported 14,017 registrations, with 7,335 total in verified attendance. The show hosted 254 exhibitors spanned across 124,100 square feet. This represented about 25% of the numbers from the last in-person InfoComm, which took place in Orlando in June of 2019.
Without a doubt, the show felt smaller than in previous years. But that didn’t mean important connections and sales weren’t happening on the trade show floor.
“Within 15 minutes of the show opening on the first day, all [of our] questions went away,” said James Liu, President of Absen Inc. “We had a lot of quality customers who came here with reasons: either they bring a project, or they want to talk about partnership with Absen.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many exhibitors on the trade show floor were focused on AV solutions for remote learning and virtual conferences. With the pandemic affecting how people work and learn, AV technology has been key to managing professional and academic interactions.
Also apparent was the need for more workers in the field. Even before the pandemic altered the employment landscape, workers in technology and engineering fields were in high demand. Now, companies are even more anxious to fill those spots.
“We are hiring now,” says Smart Monkeys founder Stephan Villet. “We are looking for engineers and tech-types of all kinds.” Smart Monkeys is in the process of re-opening its office in Orlando, with work proceeding on multiple projects in the area, including the expansion of the Orlando International Airport.
Virtual content from the conference is available on demand through November 30, 2021 via infocommshow.org/virtual. Next year’s InfoComm is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas June 4-10, 2022.
The Attractions Technology Lab
Running for two days alongside InfoComm, the Attractions Technology Lab featured a consortium of technology providers particularly suited to address the needs of the attractions industry. Alcorn McBride hosted the event at their headquarters, which consisted of scheduled demo events, specific technology trainings and a daily mixer at Alcorn’s in-house tiki bar.
Participating companies included Alcorn McBride, Oceaneering, Christie Digital, Garner Holt Productions and Weigl Control. In an amazingly short time period (two weeks) the team assembled a prototype 3D simulator attraction. Attendees were able to experience the attraction, and then were shown all of the technology components that made the ride possible.
According to Loren Barrows, Chief Operating Officer at Alcorn McBride, plans are in the works to bring the Attractions Technology Lab to a site in southern California and then replicate it at various other events in years to come.
The group was created when team members from the various companies found themselves working together at different job sites. The goal, according to Barrows, is to highlight the complementary skills and technologies of the various vendors involved, not necessarily to sell their services together. “We want to help clients better understand the different technological components that go into media-based attractions,” she explained.
For more information, visit attractionstechnology.com.
InPark’s coverage of other InfoComm events
InfoComm 2019 Orlando: AV evolution by Judith Rubin
Tech savvy: InfoComm 2018 by Joe Kleiman
The integration of things: InPark goes to InfoComm 2017 by Joe Kleiman
InPark goes to InfoComm 2016 (part 1) by Judith Rubin
InPark goes to infoComm 2016 (part 2) by Joe Kleiman