I love going to CEDIA. I mean I really love it—the energy, the cool products, seeing all of my colleagues old and new. It’s an amazing time every year. As we are doing more and more commercial work with my firm, I felt this year was the right time to do an InfoComm trip. The show is much bigger with over 37,000 attendees in 2014 (2015 numbers are not yet available) while CEDIA attracted 18,500 in 2014. The show floor is huge, with products spanning video conferencing to live performance to commercial-grade, large-venue projection.
InfoComm is huge, with products spanning from video conferencing to live performance to commercial-grade, large-venue projection.
It was definitely an interesting show to attend, but I guess I’m a residential guy at heart and always will be. While the products were cool, it just didn’t get my heart pumping like CEDIA EXPO does. Maybe it is because I don’t quite see all the cool, innovative ways to use the products like I do with residential solutions, or maybe it’s just how I’m wired. I enjoyed checking out the behemoth projectors for use in cinemas and large auditoriums, but all I kept thinking was, “What a sick home theater that would make!” I could just see some 30,000-lumen projector rocking the 20x15 theater in my basement.
It is also a much more staid show. While CEDIA has beer flowing from taps at booths at 4pm and giveaways and drawings all day, InfoComm was much more business-like. One refreshing item I noticed was that there were fewer scantily clad models hawking product for manufacturers at InfoComm. That is definitely something CEDIA exhibitors could emulate better. Sex sells, but we don’t need it in a business atmosphere, especially in an industry where we could use more women business owners and technicians—my female colleagues tell me that it is just off-putting to them and makes them question doing business with the companies that continue to rely on this outdated tactic.
Ranting about gender equality aside, I obviously appreciated the great product and tools to make jobs more efficient, profitable, and reliable. Very often the technical know-how that is developed for the commercial and enterprise space trickles down to the residential arena, so going to InfoComm is like getting a sneak peak at what we might see two to four years down the road. For example Vaddio was showing hi-res video conferencing cameras. I have been getting some small requests from clients for Skype-like solutions, and I can see this technology coming into the home for talking to distant family members and into the home office for the telecommuter to be more ‘present’ at the office.
While InfoComm is definitely a different show than CEDIA, I could see myself going again in the future. It will depend on both where we take The Source Home Theater; if we tend toward more commercial work, I will obviously go more frequently, but at the least I see myself attending every other year regardless.
+Todd Anthony Puma is president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City.