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InfoComm 08: Turn Out the Lights

At press time, InfoComm figured more than 34,600 people from 93 countries attended Info-Comm 08, which was more than the organization's pre-show estimates and nearly 10 percent more than last year?a sign, many say, that the industry remains strong, at least for now, during trying economic times.

“There is a huge appetite in the Middle East and Africa region for these technologies, and professionals are crying out for a fully focused event,” said Chris Fountain, group director of CMPi UAE, the organization that will help put on the show.

In Las Vegas, InfoComm also previewed its 2008 Asia-Pacific AV Market Definition and Strategy Study. The report found that the professional audiovisual market in the Asia-Pacific region was expected to grow to nearly $18 billion by 2010, up from $13.4 billion last year. According to InfoComm, sales of AV products made up 80 percent of the 2007 figure, while pro AV services accounted for 20 percent. Researchers said they expected the health care and education sectors to grow fastest in Asia, at rates of 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

Integrators are already plotting how or even whether to operate in a market that's increasingly international, based on solutions that utilize IP to link clients' offices around the world. The merged AVI-SPL held a press conference at InfoComm 08 that underscored the company's newfound global reach. Meanwhile, The Whitlock Group, another large U.S.-based AV integrator, announced its aggressive move into the European market through a partnership with Impact Marcom, a U.K.-based firm (see “5-Minute Interview,” opposite page).

“We've been around since 1955, but in the last 10 years we've grown from a local integrator to regional to national to international,” Doug Hall, CEO of The Whitlock Group, tells PRO AV. Hall expects his company's new alliance, as well as changes throughout the AV industry, to open doors to new opportunities. “In some ways there's business we haven't been able to pursue before. Now we can.”

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