Feel Like You Missed A Bunch Of Things At InfoComm? Doing The Math Explains It …

June 20, 2023 by Dave Haynes

It was in my head as I briskly walked to beat the shuttle bus rider rush as Day 2 of InfoComm wound down that there were all kinds of vendors and people I did not get a chance to see last week, as I just ran out of time. What did I do so wrong???

It bugged me more through the weekend and on Monday, as I caught up on correspondence and saw all the Linkedin posts from companies thanking people for stopping by. I also got numerous “Sorry we didn’t see you!” emails.

I did the math, and it started to make sense.

There were some 250 vendors who included digital signage as a category on the exhibitor directory for the trade show last week. There are lots of those that also do other things and have, for example, some cable, connector or box that is part of the infrastructure for digital signage and broader AV jobs. It’s important stuff to integrators, but not a must-see for me.

So that left some 150 vendors that I would ideally see, in some fashion, on the exhibit hall floor.

I only go for two days, because I don’t want to spend all of my Saturday getting home and don’t do domestic red-eyes. So that’s 16 hours available to see everything and everyone. Subtract at least an hour off each day for unavoidable stuff – like bio breaks, getting food and checking correspondence – and that’s 14 hours total.

840 minutes (14 hours in minutes) divided by 150 means I had an average of 5.6 minutes of time available per vendor.

That doesn’t factor in time to get from stand to stand. It’s rarely linear. For example, two of the biggest LED manufacturers (Absen and Planar/Leyard) were way at the other end of the hall from the majority of the digital signage-focused companies.

It also doesn’t factor how we all, inevitably, bump into people we know and then engage in quick conversations, which is terrific from a social perspective but chews up precious minutes.

Doing the math explains it all, but it doesn’t fix the fundamental problem of so much to see, and so little time. Like trying to see London or New York in a weekend.

The many hundreds of videos that rAVe Publications shoots, edits and publishes out of these big shows are minimalist and impromptu – like “Here’s your mike, look at this camera or phone, and tell me about your pots and pans in a minute or so. Go!” Their work is about volume, not production values. But the videos are  very helpful for those who don’t get to InfoComm or ISE, and for people like me who are time-crunched and missed all kinds of vendors.

I have also seen some vendors shoot their own videos in their stands, or have a crew shoot and produce something, and publish them on social channels.

Those, I think, are quite helpful when done well. They work when the emphasis is on showing just a few key things and not trying to cover everything available. They work better when the presenter knows the subject matter well and is prepared, as opposed to a narrative that includes a lot of “Uhs” and “Ummms” as he or she walks a stand and talks.

Just the facts presentations work far better than stylized, heavily-edited pieces that reflect the people, products and energy of stands, but offer minimal information. There’s a role for a “sizzle” style video like that, but if the goal is to inform viewers about what was launched or highlighted, choose substance over style. You are selling software and display hardware, not $500 handbags or shoes.

For years, I have avoided booking meetings on a trade show floor because of my worries about having too much to see, and too little time. I suspect it’s a problem faced not just by trade press, but anyone who wants and needs to be current on technologies and the people who make or deliver them.

The answer, in part, might be advance research and planning, and booking must-see booth visits ahead of time. But the stuff I enjoy, and often the stuff that get’s written up, is stumbled on or recommended by people I bump into. It’s often the smaller vendors with minimal (if any) PR outreach who are showing something very new and different. If I book dozens of meetings with established vendors, that stuff gets mixed.

So … if I promised to pop by, and didn’t, or I waved at a vendor friend and said I’d come back, and then didn’t, that’s why.

And if I did spend time, but didn’t write anything, don’t feel slighted. You can have great products, but it is hard to write much about screens that are a little brighter, connectors that are a little easier, seams that are even less visible, and UXs that are a little more intuitive or now have important but obscure security certifications.

Now I feel better … 🙂

  1. Jake Berg says:

    Thanks for writing this Dave. I had a similar feeling post show and even re considered staying for the 3rd day at one point.

  2. Adrian Cotterill says:

    Nicely said

    1. Dave Haynes says:

      Thank you … it was an interesting exercise to work out why I missed so much … now I need a solution!

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