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POV: Designing a Better InfoComm

Feb 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Mark S. Valenti, CTS


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It is tradition for the new president of the InfoComm Board of Governors to provide the membership and the broader community with an update of what the association plans to accomplish in the upcoming year. I appreciate the support and trust the AV community has placed in me as president, and I hope that these efforts will help the industry thrive in the upcoming year.

Frankly, 2007 will be a tough act to follow. The record attendance at InfoComm07 surpassed even the board's expectations. The consolidation of the NSCA Expo into InfoComm is a watershed moment in the history of both associations, which we believe will better serve our members. The application for ANSI accreditation of InfoComm's certification program is part of a continued march toward excellence and wider awareness and acceptance of the program. More than 9,000 certified technology specialists now participate in the program.

Books such as Essentials of the AV Industry and the AV Set-Up Guide have solidified InfoComm's position as the developer of the AV industry's body of knowledge. InfoComm's AV-IT Class debuted and was taught all over the world, bringing together both disciplines into one class. CareerCorps helped introduce new people to the industry. The North American Market Definition and Strategy Study provided readers with a new look at the size of the industry, as well as guidance for addressing complex business challenges. The development of the InfoComm EZip format united manufacturers and integrators together to eliminate inefficiencies and pricing errors.

However, we must continually strive to improve the association and provide value to the AV industry. As InfoComm moves forward, the board has challenges to address. How can members continue to interact, participate in programs, provide feedback, and effectively network as the association and the show grow at a record pace? How does the AV industry brace for a predicted economic downturn, should it develop? How will increased competition from firms outside the industry impact AV?

The InfoComm board does not want you to be just another name on the InfoComm membership rolls. InfoComm is not merely an organization you join, or a tradeshow you attend, but a place to belong. I hope that in 2008 you will find your niche and choose to participate in InfoComm in a way that feels most comfortable and enjoyable to you. Whether it is joining a council related to your segment of the industry, reviewing curricula, writing a white paper, or attending a local member roundtable, we want you to be involved.

As a result of last year's InfoComm member survey, we have decided to augment in-person networking with new online social-networking opportunities in 2008. Groups based on areas of special interests will form. Many of these will involve several segments of the industry, so all those with an interest in projectors can interact together — whether they are manufacturers, presentation professionals, independent programmers, designers, or dealers. Special-interest groups (SIGs) can convene on a specific ongoing issue, such as LEED and AV or intellectual property, while others may emerge in response to a developing issue. As the year progresses, there will be additional leadership opportunities for members interested in becoming meshed into the fabric of InfoComm.

InfoComm has a lot to offer its members — and the association's leadership is committed to continually providing additional value. However, we are also keenly aware that InfoComm's members have a lot to offer each other. So please make your voice heard and lend your expertise, even for just a few hours a year. Help us design a better InfoComm in 2008. As an AV professional, InfoComm is where you belong.


Mark S. Valenti, CTS, is president/CEO of The Sextant Group, a national consulting firm specializing in the planning and design of audiovisual, communications, and information systems. He also serves as president of InfoComm International.



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