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Q&A With AVIXA’s Annette Sandler About InfoComm 2021 Education


Amid Call for Presenters deadline extension, AVIXA’s education vision comes into focus.

Recently, AVIXA announced that it had extended the deadline for its InfoComm 2021 Call for Presenters to November 9. According to the association, the committee choosing presenters for the upcoming show wanted to ensure that there would be a substantial number of submissions from which to choose.

So, this week, Sound & Communications caught up with Annette Sandler, Director, Live Content US & Canada for AVIXA, to ask her more about the education component being planned for InfoComm 2021. We asked her about AVIXA’s broad vision for the program, the most in-demand presentation areas, which kinds of presenters are being sought, and how the association plans to balance in-person and virtual learning.

Enjoy the discussion. And, if you feel like you might want to present, you can apply here.

Sound & Communications: InfoComm shows are known for their visionary, future-minded education component, which helps attendees prepare themselves for the months and years ahead. In that spirit, is AVIXA embracing a particular vision for the 2021 education program?

Annette Sandler: For InfoComm 2021, we are particularly focused on the technologies and solutions that enable people to come together again. The AV industry is tasked with delivering new in-person, virtual, and hybrid solutions, and the 2021 education program will equip AV pros to deliver these experiences for their clients.

Sound & Communications: My understanding is that the InfoComm 2021 Call for Presenters has been extended to November 9. If any of our readers might consider stepping forward, can you specify some of the presentation areas and session topics in which AVIXA is most interested?

Sandler: We’d love to have case studies of new projects since March 2020, and projects that had requirements change due to COVID-19. Even if these projects are not yet complete, I encourage presenters to submit anyway so we can have a conversation at the show in June 2021. These projects are ones the entire industry can learn from.

Sound & Communications: AVIXA is known as a premier source for research about and data on the commercial AV industry. With that in mind, how, if at all, have the 2020 Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis report and other publications helped shape the burgeoning InfoComm 2021 education program?

Sandler: The 2020 Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis shows the top solution areas in terms of revenue and growth potential are conferencing and collaboration, learning, content distribution and media, and digital signage. These solutions and technologies will be at the forefront of the education program during InfoComm.

Sound & Communications: Who can present at InfoComm 2021? Does the universe of presenters include AV integrators, consultants, manufacturers, distributors, analysts and others? Who else might be a potential presenter? Has the universe of presenters broadened at all over recent years?

Sandler: Individuals from all corners of the pro AV industry are encouraged to apply to be presenters. The speaker profiles at InfoComm has expanded in recent years to include architects, content creators, and experience designers. I also see a growing number of end users, some presenting on their own and some invited by integrators and manufacturers to speak about the projects they’ve worked on together.

Sound & Communications: Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it seems probable that InfoComm 2021 will have a robust virtual component to complement the in-person exposition in Orlando FL. How do you anticipate the education program being divided among in-person and virtual sessions?

Sandler: We’re eager to gather the AV industry together in person for our education sessions. While not everything will be available digitally, we are planning for virtual components to reach people that can’t make the show and for the industry to access content after the show ends.

Sound & Communications: What feedback, if any, has AVIXA received over the last several months of the pandemic vis-à-vis its education offering? How, if at all, has that feedback directly affected what education committee members are looking to do?

Sandler: One of the new efforts AVIXA undertook this spring was creating the Digital Signage Power Hour series, a monthly look at trends in digital signage with a discussion of different perspectives on new developments. We’ve received a huge response to those programs and it’s clear that our attendees are looking for high-quality insights instead of a high volume of education. With that in mind, these monthly touchpoints are becoming an extension of the conversations that take place at InfoComm and some of the submissions to the CFP will be invited to present through AVIXA’s digital programs taking place before and after InfoComm.

Sound & Communications: Please offer a final reminder to our readers why, as critically important as the trade-show floor is, the education program is equally essential to helping AV professionals futureproof and bolster their business.

Sandler: Delivering a truly integrated experience is more important than ever. It’s incredibly beneficial to learn from your peers in the industry who are willing to share their struggles and their successes. That’s the beauty of InfoComm: when the whole industry comes together, we can learn so much from each other.

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