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InfoComm 2024: AI moves centre stage

David W Smith looks at the major highlights likely to enthral attendees at year’s Stateside pro AV technology showcase, with AI and digital signage events set to take centre stage

With just weeks to go until InfoComm 2024, on June 8-14, in Las Vegas, Nevada, pre-registered numbers of both attendees and exhibitors are ahead of the figures for the 2023 show at the same point in time, according to AVIXA. 

At the time of writing, over 30,000 verified attendees are expected, and more than 800 brands will exhibit across the Las Vegas Convention Center campus, in the Central and West Halls. The three biggest exhibitors remain Crestron, LG Electronics, and Samsung Electronics America, each with thousands of sq ft secured. This is a big year, too, for new exhibitors and attendees. There will be more than 160 new exhibitors and brands, and AVIXA predicts that more than 30% of attendees will attend InfoComm for the first time.

InfoComm entrance

Figures for last year’s show already demonstrated a big rise in attendance over the pandemic-affected 2022 edition. In 2023, InfoComm welcomed 29,325 verified attendees from 115 countries and 37% were first-time attendees. On the trade show floor, 700 exhibitors showcased pro AV products and solutions across 358,700 net square feet. 

This year’s preliminary figures reveal that the trend to attend in person is accelerating. Rochelle Richardson, CEM, senior vice president of exposition and event services, AVIXA, said: “More than ever, there is a surge in attendees and exhibitors who recognise the importance of meeting face-to-face at trade shows. This allows them to get first-hand experience with products and technologies, forge new connections, gain insights from industry leaders, and simply experience serendipity.”

A rich programme of events awaits attendees across the 10 show floors. Common themes, according to Richardson, include a continued focus on remote and hybrid collaboration solutions, enhancements for video conferencing systems, virtual meeting platforms, and other collaborative tools. But, more than ever, the importance of AI for the future of AV will be at the forefront of events. 

“AI will be everywhere and the audience at InfoComm will have the opportunity to experience AI-powered features, including language accessibility, a generative AI photo booth, automated content generation, and AVA AI, a comprehensive InfoComm guide, powered by OpenAI,” explains Richardson.

AI will also be the theme of the keynote speech at InfoComm 2024, which will focus on the opportunities it presents for AV. ‘Everything Has Changed’, will be delivered on Wednesday, June 12, at 11am, by Joe Pham, chairman and CEO of QSC. Pham will argue that by integrating AI with the technologies of sight and sound, AV holds the power to generate real-time profound experiences, drive transformative outcomes through data-driven insights, and cultivate more meaningful human connections in a world increasingly marked by disconnection.  

InfoComm 2023 show in Orlando, Florida

There are many other AI-related sessions at InfoComm 2024. Fardad Zabetian, CEO of KUDO, will lead the session, ‘Language Accessibility with AI: the Untapped Opportunity for AV Integrators’, on Wednesday June 12. Following the rise of AI speech translation solutions, he will analyse how language is the key to unlocking international business opportunities and generating recurring revenue. 

Also on Wednesday, Julian Phillips, senior vice president and managing director, XTG, AVI-SPL, will present the session, ‘AI and the Hyper-Acceleration of Workplace and Experience Design’. He will share how the convergence of immersive experiences, AI, and AV technologies can revolutionise how we interact, collaborate, and innovate. 

Additional sessions on AI will take place throughout the week, including ‘Emerging Compliance and Security Concerns for AI’, on Tuesday, June 11. Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst of Metrigy, will speak about how many companies have not yet developed a strategy to ensure compliance and mitigate risk for AI-generated content, such as meeting recordings, user-generated clips, and transcripts. He’ll reveal best practices for capturing, classifying, and storing content and ensuring it is available only where necessary.

The Technology Innovation Stage (C8676) will host, ‘Trend Forecast: Navigating AI, Sustainability and Commodification in Conferencing and Collaboration’, on Thursday, June 13. Panellists Jane Hammersley, from Blue Touch Paper, Philip Langley of Wesco, and Timothy Mackie, from Yamaha Unified Communications, will explore the multifaceted implications of these intersecting trends.  

Another focal point of InfoComm 2024 is the abundant programme of events focusing on digital signage, featuring training courses, the D=SIGN conference, workshops, networking events, and a digital signage focused show floor tour .“We’ll also have plentiful opportunities for integrators, designers, content creators, and the entire digital signage community to build their network,” says Richardson.

The spotlight on digital signage will begin with two full-day trainings: ‘Digital Signage Certified Expert (DSCE)’ on Sunday, June 9, and ‘Digital Content & Media Expert (DCME)’, on Monday, June 10, presented by Jonathan Brawn, principal of Brawn Consulting.

On Tuesday, June 11, the D=SIGN conference, produced in partnership with the Digital Signage Federation, will feature six sessions, including: ‘D=SIGN: AI Primer for Digital Signage’, with Jim Nista, creative director, Nista Digital Content; ‘D=SIGN: Green Signage, Easier Than You Think’, with speakers from Legrand AV, Global Display Solutions, Sony, and BrightSign; and ‘D=SIGN: Futureproofing Your Hardware From Day 2 to Day 2000’, with panellists from Bluefin International, BrightSign, Nanolumens, Legrand AV, and AVI-SPL. 

InfoComm 2022 show in Las Vegas, Nevada

Also on Tuesday, June 11, the Market Insights Lunch: Digital Signage Forum, hosted by Florian Rotberg and Stefan Schieker, from Invidis Consulting, will provide a global outlook on the DS industry, in addition to a networking lunch. 

And on Wednesday, June 12, the Technology Innovation Stage (Booth C8676) will feature a panel of digital signage experts who will explore how interactive digital signage applications can maximise the user experience. They’ll also discuss what’s next for the sector, including green signage and the role of computer vision AI. Panellists include Jim Nista of Nista Digital Content, Michelle Montazeri from Legrand AV, and Jenny Hicks from Midwich Group. Meanwhile, the InfoComm trade show floor will feature more than 100 exhibitors showcasing digital signage solutions.

A popular feature on the expo floor last year was the Trailblazers Zone, a curated destination showcasing the latest innovations and technologies from emerging companies and first-time exhibitors. It returns this year and has tripled in size, according to AVIXA. Companies exhibiting include Design Huddle, Domotz, Gowin Semiconductor Corporation, HAVRION, HyLite LED, NewBlue, Treble Technologies, and Vitex LLC.

The education programme will be just as wide-ranging and instructive. It begins on Saturday, June 8, with 13 training courses and 18 technical workshops, including new courses on AVoIP Foundations and Rendering the Future: Unreal Engine Workflows. “There will be a lot of new education programming at the show, including our AVoIP Foundations course,” Richardson comments. “After offering a version of this course for two years as exclusively an on-demand offering, we’re happy to offer it as an in-person class with two experts who can take it even further. Hope Roth and Gain Foster have years of industry experience deploying AVoIP solutions. The instructors are great resources, and an in-person environment will allow learners to delve deeply into the world of AVoIP.”

The education programme continues throughout the week with more than 100 sessions addressing topical issues, such as practical applications of AI for AV technologists, incorporating sustainable practices into each part of the AV lifecycle, and leveraging AV technology to make meetings, events, and experiences inclusive and accessible. Ten education tracks will provide in-depth knowledge in audio, business and project management, conferencing and collaboration, content production and streaming, design and integration, digital signage, diversity and inclusion, enterprise IT, events and entertainment, and learning spaces. 

Attendees will also discover how cutting-edge AV has been applied in a series of use cases. This year’s lineup includes the Advance Engineering Building and the School of Medicine, at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Illuminarium, HyperX Arena, Area15, and Atomic Golf. 

In addition, the AVIXA Women’s Council will host the annual Women’s Breakfast, on Thursday, June 13, from 730am to 9am. This event continues to be one of the most sought-after at the show. This year’s keynote speaker is Danielle Feinberg, known for her influential role at Pixar Animation Studios. When not involved with Pixar, she mentors teenage girls, encouraging them to explore coding, maths, and science. 

Technology Innovation stage, InfoComm 2023

The Las Vegas Convention Center is being renovated during the show, but Richardson does not anticipate disruptions to attendees. The renovation project will make the pre-existing structure consistent with the West Building, which was upgraded in 2021, with the new project expected to be completed by 2025. “We’ve made sure attendees will still be able to navigate the campus with ease by providing enhanced directional signage, transportation services with Central and West Halls shuttles, estimated commute times, recommendations for attendees to manage and maximise time efficiently, LV Loop schedule, use of the mobile app, and introduction of AVA powered by OpenAI to navigate the InfoComm experience from your device,” she said.

She is optimistic that all in attendance, whether old hands, or visiting for the first time, will come away with valuable lessons and insights. “Everyone attending InfoComm this year will have a variety of unique first-time experiences to stay abreast of the latest industry advancements, trends, products, and solutions – on the trade show floor, in education sessions, at networking events, and other functions,” she enthuses. “Attendees can position themselves for success in the rapidly evolving AV landscape.”