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InfoComm changes to AVIXA as ambitions and scope broaden

InfoComm International has changed its name to AVIXA – the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. The announcement was made at a press conference near the association’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, timed to coincide with its Leadership Lab event.

Under the leadership of CEO Dave Labuskes, the association has communicated the message the value of AV lies in its ability to create exceptional experiences, which the association sees as the confluence of technology, content and space.

“We are an industry that used to simply be about technology and components,” said Labuskes. Now, integrated experiences have created “a new foundation for value for our industry… and it has so much more opportunity for our members.”

He continued: “If we believe that experience is the value for the industry going forward, then we owe it to our members to help them deliver those experiences… This evolves the definition of AV to include content and space, and it recognises that experts in all three specialties need to know enough about the others to communicate with them and work alongside them.”

AVIXA believes that the rebranding will help to achieve four key strategic objectives: realigning its content and training programmes to reflect the ‘integrated experiences’ concept; increasing awareness of the association within the industry; reinventing the membership model to accommodate companies and individuals within the wider AV industry; and improving market intelligence.

The association also believes it has a growing role as an industry hub, with an ability to act as a catalyst for market growth beyond the traditional AV space. This has been reflected in its recruitment of members including experience designers, content creators and IT companies.

It has also been reaching out to the AV end-user community. This year’s InfoComm show saw a 20% growth in end-user attendee numbers, against a 15% rise in attendance overall. InfoComm will remain as the name of the association’s events, both the annual US show and its growing event portfolio around the world.

AVIXA board members offered their views on the association’s new direction. Julian Phillips, executive vice president of Whitlock, explained why integrators should encourage their customers to join the association: “An empowered, informed and engaged end-user customer spends way much more than an ignorant, disengaged and disrespected customer. There’s been a belief that if we can retain all the knowledge as integrators and somehow show our value to the customer and make money because they can’t figure it out for themselves – that’s a myth, and a myth that’s just been blown apart.” Inviting their customers to join AVIXA will grow integrators’ businesses and profits, he added.

Labuskes summed up: “AVIXA is about the possibilities of AV and integrated experiences in the future, and all the new ways that we can be innovative and deliver value, as an industry as an association.” However, he was keen to stress continuity with the association’s original aims from 80 years ago: it remains a group of people with a common need. “All we’ve done today is recognise the fact that that group is a different group: that that need is a different need… AVIXA is still about commitment, it’s still about obligation, it’s still about privilege, and it’s still about a sense of responsibility that we have to our members.”