Widgets Magazine

IC20 Day One Keynote: Leaning into a “Better Normal”

AVIXA’s CEO Dave Labuskes addresses the difficult times we are all living through while remaining optimistic about the future of integrated AV

As an attendee, the opening day of InfoComm 2020 Connected — AVIXA’s virtual iteration of the InfoComm Show — went smoothly, with varied sessions that offered insight and encouraged active participation.

In the middle of IC20’s first day, between product lightning rounds and specific channel presentations, Dave Labuskes delivered an emotional and ultimately optimistic keynote address, A Better Normal: Reducing Friction and Finding Our Way in a Hybrid World, that touched on everything from the pandemic and the ongoing protests in the U.S. as well as how AV professionals are evolving in what is shaping up to be a whole new world.

“I want to reach out to you as human beings because this has been a very difficult month or months for many of us,” Labuskes said at the top of his address. “We’ve lost hundreds of thousands of people to an invisible disease that we didn’t even know existed six months ago. And most recently here in the in United States, we’ve lost family members and loved ones to a disease that’s been too difficult to see for the last hundreds of years. That disease of systemic racism, a disease of anger, a disease of violating civil liberties. We have a long way to go as a global community and I am very proud to be part of an AV industry that can help us along that road.”

Labuskes, who recently participated in AVNation’s AVWeek podcast session on Race in the AV industry, has been listening and in addressing the civil unrest stemming from police brutality in the African-American community, dovetails that with the ongoing battle we are enduring with the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting “heroes”, Labuskes goes on to reference The Avengers and Dictionary.com to underscore how AV professionals and the industry at large, like the essential workers currently operating throughout the pandemic,  have responded to the closing down of almost all global business by helping each other and turning their dormant manufacturing facilities into factories to help provided medical supplies.

“A lot of courage has been demonstrated,” Labuskes said. “But that isn’t done. The need for that courage is really just starting. As we move out from this virtual every organization, every business, every church is going to be dependent upon our industry to stand beside them courageous and help them find a new way to engage with [their]customers, to engage with their guests, to bring people back out to sit at a restaurant table and enjoy a meal in a way that they so much cherish and so much need to feel safe. It is going to demand creativity on our part.”

Labuskes leans into this demand for courage by defining it as new ways to deliver on experiences our channel clients have relied on us to help create by leveraging the AV know-how that has shaped AV integration for the past several decades.

“We as an industry have the ability to amplify love and joy and hope,” Labuskes said, “or anger and hate and prejudice. What I would ask you as you take from this event new skills, new abilities, new products, new relationships — use those all for a better normal. A new normal is inevitable, we all know that. … What we we as an industry can do for our children and our grandchildren is to create a better normal by leveraging the power, the superpower, we each have. That is why we are having InfoComm Connected.”

Labuskes is joined by Kate Wik of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and later by Almo Pro AV’s Sam Taylor to outline how this “better normal” will be enacted, including the evolving ways that we will all return to in-person conferences and trade shows with new safety measures and how the workplace will be reconfigured to accommodate the normalization of social distancing while still collaborating.

You can watch the entire presentation of A Better Normal: Reducing Friction and Finding Our Way in a Hybrid World here

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