Almo Professional AV’s “Educate, Explore, Exchange, Expo” show wrapped up a four-city 2011 national tour in New York City on Oct. 27, drawing a record 40 vendors and 400 integrator attendees to the Millennium Broadway Hotel in the heart of the theater district.
“We’re selective about the vendors we work with,” said Sam Taylor, executive vice president of the Almo division, in remarking upon the supplier number uptick this year, “but we are always looking for companies that provide peripheral solutions that give added value to our integrators.” Among the newer vendors to join the fold were ZeeVee, Altinex, URC and MusicLites. “Every company we work with allows our dealers to be more competitive.”
Taylor also noted an increase in the attendance of residential integrators looking to explore the light-commercial and professional disciplines as new profit avenues. “The CEDIA market isn’t as strong as it once was in these economic times, and more of those dealers are moving into the commercial space.” He said that Almo Pro, within the parameters of the E4 AV Tour, was meeting both their needs and those of longstanding commercial integrators with a mix of both products and educational tracks to appeal to all knowledge levels.
Course curricula here were concentrated in the hottest pro categories, which include digital signage, video wall solutions and video teleconferencing and there were also courses on “green A/V,” basic acoustics, and one course offered on the art of “technorating” – that is, new ways to use A/V technologies as décor elements. The presenter, Alan Brawn of Brawn Consulting, exhorted his audience to “think outside the box. You won’t make much if any money selling flat panel displays, so you need to use display technologies in new ways for a new feel. This is about how to make profit; it’s not just about putting up a mount and a display.”