David J. Danto
Collaboration / AV /
IoT / Multimedia / Video / UC
Director of Emerging
Multimedia & Collaborative Communications Alliance
A View From The Road Volume 10, Number 3
In This Edition:
· InfoComm Breaking Records
· Best Attended Sessions In History
· The State Of The Industry From
Professionals And End-Users
2016 was a record-breaker this year.
Quoting from the official InfoComm press release, “1,000 exhibitors,
including 211 new exhibitors, filled the Las Vegas Convention Center June 8-10
for InfoComm 2016, occupying 527,105 net square feet of exhibit and special
events space — also a show record.
Attendees registered for more than 12,000 seats at InfoComm University
sessions throughout the week, more than double the number engaged in training
and education in 2015. Approximately
one-third more unique attendees took InfoComm University™ training at InfoComm
than in the past. The spike in training
interest was driven in part by the 2,620 seminar and workshop packages sold.”
surge was so big this year that people trying to pick-up their badge when the
expo opened had to stand in a line that snaked around and down the main
corridor – clearly a logistical issue that future InfoComm shows will have to
the attendees could get into the hall, the educational sessions they attended
provided a great view of where the industry is going. The IMCCA presented the UC educational
program again this year, with classes covering the very hot topics of Huddle
Rooms, Security of Collaboration Technology, Cloud Services, Workspaces of
Tomorrow, Interactive Displays, and much more.
(All of the session presentations and videos of the four above can be seen here.)
two “state of the industry” lunch and learn sessions were eye opening as well,
with Wednesday’s presented by industry professionals - in counterpoint to
Thursday’s, where end-users spoke out.
leaders spent a great deal of the time on the Wednesday session detailing how
the industry has changed over the years.
Solutions in the collaboration space need to be simpler, more reliable,
easier to use, more secure and offered by firms and partners that are more
agile. (Taking a tiny moment to boast,
these are exactly the trends that I have been predicting for five years
now. The many players in professional AV
that said I was crazy back then have come-around to understanding that this is
the only way to survive in the future – or they have gone out of business.) The huge growth of cloud services and
adoption programs in the collaboration space were also discussed as trends that
smart user firms are embracing with much success. An interesting debate also ensued when the
moderator – Ann Earon – asked if the size and
stability of partner firms was a fair thing to look-at when choosing a
partner. As AV and collaboration firms
and manufacturers get bought and sold and others start-up with tiny market
shares, should users take their inherent instability into consideration? Many on the panel said no, but the way they
sweated through defensive answers said more than their words.
Thursday end-user panel was also very revealing.
this session (which I moderated) the discussion began with the issue of
“noise,” or the proliferation of different tools for collaboration that overlap
one another. “For a lot of end users, as
we roll out more and more tools focused on collaboration, the question of ‘which
tool for which use case’ is something that pops up a lot,” said panelist Mike Bartholomy, senior manager of information security at
panelists agreed that the tendency of manufacturers to release tools that try
to do everything is bad. Most wanted to
see manufacturers continue to simplify their offerings and make them more
easily usable in a mobile-first world.
They didn’t seem to have a problem using different tools from different
manufacturers, allowing a best in breed approach. They lamented about how hard it was to try to
adapt a collaboration ecosystem where the offerings continue to encroach on
existing toolsets. Beyond the debate
over simplicity versus flexibility, panelists offered their views on the future
of unified communications, touching on a variety of topics such as security,
market consolidation, and the continued growth of BYOD.
coverage of InfoComm by the great teams at rAVe,
and LetsDoVideo is and will continue to be awesome this
year, so for this View From The Road I’ll omit the
things they’re covering and give you some perspectives from the show that they
may not be covering.
tracking is on the horizon: I saw a couple of pre-production products
this year that use a high resolution or 360 degree capture to capture a full room
and use sound and facial recognition to switch the video image to the active
speaker. Still webcams are dead, and
soon, mechanical tracking will be dead as well.
The nature of AV
integrators is forever changed: As I predicted five
years ago (to many in the industry who doubted it) the era of the
custom-programmed standard conference room is ending. There is just no reason to customize and
complicate the average room when equipment manufacturers and now multiple
control system manufacturers and programming houses have simple, standard
interfaces that get the average job done – and done with simpler UIs that users
far prefer. It was no longer just me
saying this – it was echoed by the largest integrators and manufacturers.
AV Security is a House On Fire: Regrettably, no
progress has been made unifying the many core AV manufacturers on a process /
method / best practice interval for updating AV components. Many of them (switches, routers, DSPs,
processors, displays, etc.) are still not even field patchable by end
users. If you think the Harmon/AMX
back-door story was big, just wait ‘till one of these AV components is the
source for malware that causes a breach in a big firm. There will be no easy recovery possible for
the industry after that point. The time
for manufacturers to take this issue seriously and do something is now. (Stunningly, my
firm is still the only one performing security assessments of AV systems.)
Displays are growing in
size and resolution: Sony clearly won the
award for best in show (amongst attendees not actually selling that title to
sponsors) for their new Canvas display prototype:
display’s light source is Sony’s innovative CLEDIS™ (Crystal LED Integrated Structure)
technology, which combines ultrafine LEDs and unique surface mounting to
deliver a visual experience beyond any conventional LED array.” You can see some video of it I shot on my iPhone here, but of course
that does nothing to truly show the amazing resolution of this display. More details from Sony
That’s it for this edition of A
View From the Road.
My next update will be after the summer.
Aloha from my much needed R&R in Hawaii.
This article was
written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions. David
has had over three decades of delivering successful business outcomes in media
and collaboration technology for various firms in the corporate, broadcasting
and academic worlds - including AT&T, Bloomberg LP, FNN, Morgan Stanley,
NYU, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase. He now works with Dimension Data as their Principal Consultant for the collaboration,
multimedia, video and AV disciplines. He is also the IMCCA’s
Director of Emerging Technology. David can be reached at David.Danto@Dimensiondata.com
or DDanto@imcca.org and his full bio and other blogs and articles can be seen
at Danto.info. David is also the co-founder of Masters
Of Communication. Please reach-out to David
if you would like to discuss how he can help your organization solve problems,
develop a future-proof collaboration strategy for internal use, or if you would
like his help developing solid, user-focused go-to-market strategies for your
collaboration product or service.
images and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use