Quick Tips: What Not To Do at Infocomm 2013 as a First Time Attendee


Quick Tips: What Not to Do at Infocomm 2013 as a First Time Attendee

Do Not Over Commit

You’ll drive yourself insane if you are the type of person who lives and dies by the hands of the clock. Just remember that there are 35,000 attendees all with the same goal. The best way to prepare for the show is to develop a flexible schedule and a “must see” list.  Prior to the show try to book one appointment in the morning and one in the afternoon for each day by contacting the product reps. Most booths are very well organized with their appointments. Be sure to check in at your scheduled time and if it’s running over make sure to let them know that you plan to reschedule. In between those previously scheduled appointments, visit as many booths as you can. The show can seem overwhelming with so many products to see and places to be. Try to enjoy the ride and soak in as much as you can.

Do not Limit Yourself to a Specific Area

Explore! One of the biggest mistakes you could make is to limit yourself to one particular area or niche. I get it … you’re all about “Audio” but why limit yourself to just one area of technology. Try branching out to an area that you may not be familiar with. The show can be a great place to learn about all the different technologies that make up the AV industry. It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people and network as well. You may want to consider joining an Infocomm Committee or Council such as the AV Technology Managers Council or the Independent Programmers Council. Try taking a class, participate in a seminar or attend a product demo to broaden your show experience.  Venture outside of your comfort zone and you may find that your time at the show may become more enjoyable and rewarding.

Do not “Write off” the last day of the show

I find that the last day of the show is a great time to see the booths that were overcrowded or overbooked. By Friday the crowds typically thin out and the atmosphere seems more relaxed. Chances are you will be able to get into those hard to reach booths that were packed the first 2 days. Seize the opportunity to visit those popular booths or carve out some time to visit the smaller booths tucked away in the back. You may come across some great products or solutions at those smaller booths. Plan your travel accordingly and if possible try to use Friday to your advantage, book some appointments and check them off your Bucket List. You will be glad you did.

What Tip do you have for the Infocomm First Timer? Post in the comments section below.


REDBAND: Give the People What They Want By John Sciacca

Give the People What They Want By John Sciacca

When you think about it, we custom integrators work in a strange industry… An industry unlike any other.

Often we encounter people that not only aren’t sure exactly what it is we do, but also aren’t sure they even want or need what we offer. This is a dynamic pretty much unlike any other shopping/buying experience.

As an example, consider a typical purchasing encounter that people might go through.

Customer: “I want to buy a (car, watch, piece of art, bottle of wine).”

Salesman: “OK. Do you have your eye on anything in particular?”

Customer: “Well, I’ve been doing some research and I really like this (car, watch, piece of art, bottle of wine).”

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John Sciacca started a personal blog back in 2010 which dared to ask the hard questions like, “Huh?” and “Whaa?” all written in a pithy, deliciously witty and uproarious manner. His blog likes to make new friends and would love to have you over for some caramels. You can follow John Sciacca on Twitter @sciaccatweets  and at his personal blog www.johnsciacca.webs.com

REDBAND: Cultivating Vendor Relationships That Benefit Your Business by Todd Anthony Puma

We all have relationships in our lives that really matter, and then there are other relationships that we treat as more transactional, such as those with our suppliers—be it distributors, manufacturers, or reps. I think, however, it’s important to make your supplier relationships as strong as your other professional relationships because this can help you solve problems when you’re out in the field.

We got a call from our NuVo rep recently because a customer had contacted their headquarters concerned with the poor performance of their media server and that the system was continually lagging. Unfortunately, their integrator had moved out of state so they had nowhere else to turn. I could tell right away that the problem sounded software-related and that server needed to be updated and subsequently hard-rebooted. It was not a huge job, but as I’ve said before, you never know what can happen with these small troubleshooting jobs. And I also wanted to support NuVo and help them retain a customer, because I value our business relationship.

I scheduled time to personally go to this customer’s home in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. It was a beautiful apartment, owned by an accomplished producer and talent manager in the entertainment business. The apartment was outfitted with a NuVo Grand Concerto 8 Zone system, multiple iPod docks, a projector in the living room, and an 80-inch TV in the bedroom. While fixing the NuVo system (the problem was exactly what I thought, and it now works great), I chatted with the property’s caretaker and now have the opportunity to maintain and upgrade the system as necessary, run new coax lines for their recently added DirectTV service, re-mount the bedroom TV on an articulating arm, and possibly upgrade the projector and screen. What started out as a quick service call as a favor to a great vendor partner turned into a client worth tens of thousands of dollars in future billings…

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Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

REDBAND: Home Theater Doomed?! Hardly…by John Sciacca

Home Theater Doomed?! Hardly… by John Sciacca

A recent post by my brother-blogger-in-arms, Andrew Robinson, caught my eye and I felt compelled to respond. His post was “Commercial Cinema May Be Doomed But Home Theater Is Far From Safe.”

First, I think that it’s important to note that despite all of its foibles, and all of the griping that you read about here, and all of the reasons why the multiple may very well deserve to die we’ll probably always have “commercial cinema” around in some form. For many, the cost of owning even a modest home theater system is prohibitive of just impractical in their living space. There will always be a desire to see films on the largest screen possible, and that will mean a commercial experience. There will always be a desire to see films in the most cutting edge manner – IMAX, Dolby Atmos – available and that will mean a commercial experience. And there will always be films that you want to see in a shared, communal experience to revel in the roller coaster of emotions with hundreds of others.

Further you have a reluctance of film studios to break away from the theater exhibition model. Pete Kafka at All Things D recently interviewed of Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Corporation of America and Sony Entertainment, and asked, “You are not going to fulfill my desire to let me see Zero Dark Thirty at my house for a bunch of money when it’s still in the theaters?”…

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John Sciacca started a personal blog back in 2010 which dared to ask the hard questions like, “Huh?” and “Whaa?” all written in a pithy, deliciously witty and uproarious manner. His blog likes to make new friends and would love to have you over for some caramels. You can follow John Sciacca on Twitter @sciaccatweets  and at his personal blog www.johnsciacca.webs.com

Check out this article: Where Do You Find Good Installers?

Check out this article by Heather Sidorowicz from Residential Systems on where to people find Good AV installers. Here is the link to the AVNation podcast referenced in the article http://avnation.tv/shows/avweek/avw-082/:

“Last week I sent out a tweet asking my fellow AVTweeps (#avtweeps), “Where Do Installers Come From?” I currently have 498 followers (@tech_chi). The response? No answer from anyone. CEDIA actually picked up the tweet and retweeted it to its 6,572 followers. 

Nothing but crickets…

I started thinking that either you all know some great secret that you don’t want to share with me (or the rest of the world), or—more likely—you don’t have a concrete answer either.

We recently lost an installer, and I’ve been on the search for a new one ever since. I have this advertised in the local papers, on my sign out in front of my store, on CEDIA’s website (a member benefit), and even on Craigslist. And it got me to thinking; where have my best employees come from over the last 28 years?…”

Continue reading on Residential Systems by Clicking the link below…


REDBAND: Returning to the Basics During a Client Service Call By Todd Anthony Puma

Returning to the Basics During a Client Service Call


Todd Anthony Puma

One of the best ways to improve profitability is by reducing truck rolls. Lately, we’ve accomplished this by using technology such as IP-based power management products, remote programming for universal remotes, Teamviewer to troubleshoot systems, and countless other products. But an incident last week reminded me that returning to the basics during a routine service call is just as important.

For a client in Manhattan, we recently replaced a whole-home audio system and separately added new URC remotes for the TVs and video components. On Friday afternoon we returned to their home because they were having RF interference issues, and we needed to move the RF antenna around. One of our technicians went over and quickly found a new spot for the antenna that alleviated the problem. He thoroughly tested the remotes to make sure all of the components were working properly and even showed the client how to detect RF interference and what to do if they encountered it again. The client was very happy that everything worked and that they were given the tools to prevent the issue from occurring again. All was well and good, and my technician went home for the weekend…

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Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .


New CorporateTD article: The Benefits of Hiring a Certified Technology Specialist (CTS)

The Benefits of Hiring a Certified Technology Specialist (CTS)

By Christopher Neto, CTS

I’ve spent 10 years of my career working in the A/V field. During that time I have seen AV departments come and go. Always in a state of flux best describes my experience. Between the ever changing service contracts, contract technicians and the group itself being moved around within the company it is safe to say that A/V departments are perpetually in motion. During my career I have worked for A/V groups that have been operating under public relations, building services, meeting services and IT.  Some of my colleagues are starting to see A/V groups now being moved into food, conference, and travel services.

For many corporations, universities and other organizations, the need for A/V technology prompted the need for support. Onsite A/V support groups have slowly evolved from Telecom, Facilities or Administrative services. Going back to the high school days of film and slide projectors being rolled around school hallways, AV has always been someone’s “other job.” The assistant who sat outside a conference room became the room scheduler and room technician. The telecom person who understood ISDN became the videoconferencing expert because he knew how to “tame” SPID numbers.  The facilities guy who mounted the projector and ran the pre-molded VGA cable down the wall became the “projection expert.” Support groups developed from those side jobs.  Many of those side jobs directly lead to the creation of dedicated A/V staff today. Whether we are internal employees or outside contractors the need for what we do is apparent.  Now the goal is to make today’s technologies easier to use for the end users. Qualified integrators, consultants and engineers spend hours simplifying A/V systems and the user interfaces. The goal is to make the customer facing part of the systems to be a user-friendly as possible.

Recently there has been a lot of internet buzz in amongst A/V Tech forums over the value of certification. Most of the discussions have been in large part been between A/V integrators and manufactures. Their perspective was limited to “why” or “why not” Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certification matters in their specific line of work.  I feel I can add another perspective to the ongoing argument.  As a CTS holder and as someone who spent a considerable part of my career with onsite A/V Support teams I personally see a value in the certification…

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Check Out: AVweek Podcast Episode 82: ROSE COLORED GLASS







This week we discuss Samsung vs. Apple vs. Google Glass, Lutron in the cloud, Security and a Real Life AV Degree!


Host: Tim Albright AVNation Founder

Guests: George Tucker of World Stage, Chris Neto from AV Helpdesk, Michael Drainer of SennheiserUSA, and Joshua Stackhouse from American Television.

“InfoComm International warns about unauthorized CTS prep books. Samsung v. Apple, round 15. We talk with Joshua Stackhouse about his recently acquired AV degree. Lutron getting into the cloud. Plus, what makes a secure AV system.”

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REDBAND: Three Tools for Improving Employee Morale by Todd Anthony Puma

Three Tools for Improving Employee Morale

When a new client decides they are interested in your services, they place a phone call to your office and speak to your administrative assistant or receptionist. He or she takes their information and writes down what the client is looking for, then puts them on the schedule for a technician to come to their home. The technician takes the client’s information and arrives to their home for their appointment. He asks questions and completes the service accordingly. Once the technician leaves the client’s home, the interaction with this client ends without any input from you, the owner.

As a business owner, although we would love to meet with every client personally, there just isn’t enough time in a day. The “face” of your company is often not you but the people who go out into the field representing you. But who is to say that your new client is receiving the same level of service from your team as they would from you? How can you ensure that your employees are always the best representation of you and your company?

Three tools for success that I have found work well to promote a positive working environment are education, motivation, and ambition. They mold each of my employees into a “mini me” of myself, so I am confident in their ability to represent my company with our clients…

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Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .



Check out my Latest Article: NSCA #2013BLC: Exorcising Ghosts of Conferences Past


Last June I was fortunate to have been selected by my A/V peers as an NSCA Industry Mover and Shaker. While at InfoComm, I received a shiny plaque I prominently hung in my home office between my college diploma and an inspirational picture of Darth Vader. I also received a complimentary entry to the NSCA annual Business & Leadership Conference in February 2013.

I have to admit conferences were never a source of excitement for me. They come with stigmas in my opinion. You anticipate monotonous slides, or you may feel sensory overload from hyper presenters who think they are funny. And don’t get me started on being asked to fall back into a stranger’s arms as part of a trust exercise.

So now that I have completely stereotyped every bad conference I’ve ever attended, at least I have been honest about my mindset heading into the NSCA Business & Leadership Conference…

Check out the article on Commercial Integrator’s Website by clicking the link below: