Working from home? Switch to the DIGITAL edition of FRONT of HOUSE. CLICK HERE to signup now!
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

Welcome to InfoComm (Sorta)

George Petersen • Editor's NoteJune 2020 • June 8, 2020

George Petersen

At least on the tradeshow front, 2020 started out pretty normal. Both the CES and NAMM shows were packed, but by early February, there were signs that something was wrong — very wrong. Covid-19 was mostly limited to China, and industry concerns at that time centered mostly around how this would disrupt deliveries of manufactured audio gear — of which there is a surprisingly high percentage. Even companies that built gear elsewhere were having issues with deliveries of components (IC’s, capacitors, pots, viewscreens, etc.) or simply accessories — among them wall wart power supplies or something as simple as foam mic windscreens. And when even one admittedly basic part of the puzzle is missing, products won’t ship.

The next industry clue about the severity of the (growing) Covid-19 outbreak came in mid February 2020, when the ISE show in Amsterdam reported a 40 percent drop in attendance, from 80,000 attendees in 2019 to around 50,000 in 2020. Then major cancellations began, with huge confabs such as the cell phone industry’s 110,000-attendee Mobile World Congress to the gargantuan (600,000-person) Geneva International Motor Show coming to a screeching, shocking halt.

That was Europe, but the pandemic grew exponentially on a worldwide scale, and by mid-March, large gatherings throughout North America (churches, sports arenas, performing venues, expo centers) were shut down. The same applied to industry conventions, beginning with the cancellations of USITT, followed by Musikmesse, Prolight+Sound, NAB, EuroAES, InfoComm, Summer NAMM and (most recently) September’s CEDIA show.

›› The Virtual Response

A few of these tradeshows (NAB, EuroAES and InfoComm) have responded with plans to continue the shuttered expos as virtual events. The just-completed NAB Show Express drew some 40,000 online attendees checking out streaming seminars and programs and the high-tech wares of nearly 1,500 exhibitors.

Slated to begin the same days as its cancelled terrestrial event, InfoComm 2020 Connected ( kicks off this month and is designed to bring the AV industry together with products, content and networking, regardless of physical location or time zone. Live presentations and keynotes will take place June 16-18. InfoComm 2020 Connected registrations are free.

Even in a virtual world, a highlight of any show is the expo floor, and InfoComm 2020 Connected’s Exhibitor Showcases will feature nearly 400 manufacturers featuring products from June 16 through August 21, so attendees can continue to learn about their technology products. We spotlight some of these innovations in our “InfoComm Product Preview” starting on page 14, and next month, in the July 2020 issue of FRONT of HOUSE, we’ll present all the highlights from the “show.”

Of course, no virtual tradeshow can provide the level of interactivity and social functions of an in-the-flesh event. These can range from hands-on opportunities to check out gear in person, listening to systems in demo rooms, networking at sponsored parties/events, sketching product concepts or schematics on rum-stained cocktail napkins in the hotel bar or simply meet-ups through chance encounters at food trucks or Uber lines. I guess that sort of personal interaction will have to wait until the next real-life event, but until then, we have InfoComm 2020 Connected, so let’s make the most of it.

›› Baby Steps

These days, as the world begins its excruciating slow return to normalcy, life goes on. Our cover story features an awesome streamed performance by Brad Paisley, who teamed with Parnelli Award winners MooTV and Sound Image, to present a live show from Nashville’s The Steel Mill with full production — essentially everything but an audience. Also, in Tips & Tricks on page 10, FOH engineer Greg Price talks about staying active during the shutdown. We also check out Yamaha’s expansion of its RIVAGE console line (Page 23), and noted technologist Craig Anderton tests ASI Audio’s 3DME Ambient IEM system (Page 24).

There’s a whole lot more, but meanwhile, see you (virtually) at InfoComm 2020 Connected!


The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!