Pro AV Giant Extron Bails On Infocomm, ISE

February 28, 2012 by Dave Haynes

I don’t know the AV sector to pass much judgment, but found it interesting to read that pro AV electronics giant Extron is pulling out of its industry’s two biggest trade shows.

After serious reflection and review, says president Andrew Edwards, I have decided to make a significant change to our tradeshow schedule. Effective this year, Extron will no longer exhibit at the Infocomm USA and ISE Integrated Systems Europe tradeshows.

As I said, this change is significant, so let me give you some background. Extron has exhibited at every Infocomm USA show since 1986 and at ISE Integrated Systems Europe since 1999, when it was known as Infocomm Europe. We were instrumental in the creation and organization of the Infocomm Shootout and Extron has had the largest booth at Infocomm USA for the last four years.

We have enjoyed and appreciated what Infocomm USA and ISE have become. However, at Extron we have concluded that the time and energy put into exhibiting at these short three-day events, can better serve you by being repurposed toward activities that provide direct benefit and support for you, our customers. Specifically, we are focused on the creation of additional Extron support and training facilities both domestically and internationally.

We have a great deal of respect for the Infocomm organization and its role in our industry. Extron provides training staff for Infocomm CTS-D and CTS-I courses, and our Extron Institute courses are approved for Infocomm certification renewal credit. This decision affects the Infocomm USA and ISE tradeshows only. Extron will continue to support the Infocomm organization in all other ways.

Let me assure you that Extron is in strong financial position. 2011 was a record year for Extron. We introduced over 75 new products including our new XTP Crosspoint Systems line of digital matrix switchers, and the SME 100 H.264 Streaming Media Encoder, which, I’m pleased to announce, is now shipping. To make you, our customers, more aware of these new products requires training. Extron is built on the philosophy of training and education, and each year thousands of you attend Extron Institute, worldwide. Much of the effort that previously went into preparing for and exhibiting at Infocomm USA and ISE, will now go toward making Extron training and support even more accessible.

That’s a BIG hole on the trade show floor and the second time this year (that I know, and I assume there are many other reference cases) of big exhibitors taking a new direction. Microsoft, you may recall, said 2012 was its last at the giant CES show.

I have no idea what all that means, but what I do is trade shows are hugely expensive and time-consuming, and in my dark years as a sales monkey chained to a booth I was never convinced the ROI was there.

Sign of the times or just one company going at things differently? Comments welcomed.

rAve’s Gary Kayye, a long time Extron guy, offers his POV:

I was saddened by the news that Extron has decided to pull out of exhibiting at both the InfoComm USA show as well as the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show.

For me, it was a bit personal. I was an intern while in college for Extron in 1986 when they first exhibited at the show in Atlanta. I was also there for the next 10 InfoComms as VP of Marketing and Sales for Extron – including seven as the Chairman of the Projection Shoot-Out, the event that many people say was the flagship event for the show in the 1990s. It was InfoComm where we debuted the “Handbook of Computer Interfacing” in 1988, remember that? It was InfoComm where we debuted the RGB 109 – the product that was the first that old thousands for us. It was InfoComm where we held our first BASH in New Orleans at the Aquarium next to the Convention Center. It was InfoComm where we held our first product training seminars and came up with the idea for what has turned into the Extron Institute. And, it was InfoComm where we, all the original staffers at Extron including the president and founder, Andrew, and Ginger, Ivan, Joe, Dave, Mike, Catherine, Mary and I developed a passion for AV through the fun we had just hanging out (or as they might say – being stressed out by me) – at 2 a.m. the night before the show opened making it all work.

Entering InfoComm in June will be strange. Extron’s had one of the biggest booths at the show for nearly 20 years and not seeing their giant S3 logo on that show floor will be unusual. But, let’s be honest. One of the first things I thought of was, “who’s going to have the giant party at InfoComm now.” Come on, admit it, you thought that, too 🙂

Hey, don’t look at me…


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