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Programming Trade Show for Programmers

Get more programmers to AV trade shows

Trade shows are a key part of the AV industry, but often, companies only send their marketing, sales, and engineering departments. This can be a missed opportunity, as programmers can learn a lot from trade shows. Getting AV programming trade shows developed should be a priority for the industry.

For episode 102 of the A State of Control podcast, “Never a Typical Space,” host Steve Greenblatt is coming to you from the Influencer’s Lounge at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2023. He sits down with co-host and presenter for AVNation Rich Fregosa and Product Manager for AtlasIED Chris Deatrick to talk about the benefits programmers can get out of trade shows.

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Trade shows saw a dip in attendance and even some cancellations when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. ISE 2023 seems to be back in full swing, but the lasting impact of the pandemic is still there. Fregosa, after walking the floor for a bit, notes that “software is everywhere” and attributes this to the new hybrid work environment.

Before, most companies would be advertising their third-party development. “Now they’re presenting how they’re looking to more tightly ingrain with a lot of the UC systems,” Fregosa says. While he believes it’s a step in the right direction, he also says that manufacturers are still figuring a lot out. This would be a good time to focus on a programming trade show.

“They’re looking at us. And so we need to be able to provide something, at least for that first step to say, we’ll get you from point A to point B,” he says.

“I had a senior software engineer tell me about a month or two ago that every company’s a software company. They just don’t realize it yet,” Deatrick adds.

Discover How New Trends Apply to Programming Roles

“We’re seeing manufacturers are finding out that ‘we need to partner, we need to create tools to work with third-party manufacturers,’” says Fregosa.

So what do companies do when they need those things? “You call companies like ours, right?” Fregosa answers.

But in order to fulfill these requests,  Greenblatt says, “We have to grow up as an industry a little bit. We need to start to adopt more modern software development practices.”

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Deatrick acknowledges that it isn’t always easy but stresses that it’s important to push the envelope. “I’m encouraging our teams to have up-to-date knowledge,” he says. “It’ll be a battle until, as you said, the industry grows up a bit. There are different expectations, and once we can kind of rise to those expectations, I think that’s when there’ll be some kind of synergy.”

Learn How to Provide New Value in the AV Industry

The shift to more software-heavy solutions offers an opportunity for programmers to provide value to the industry outside of what they’re already doing.

“It’s easy to get discouraged, thinking, ‘Oh, the manufacturer is doing it now; there’s no value for me.’ And that’s not the case,” Fregosa says. While programmers may fall into an inferiority complex from time to time, the truth is that manufacturer resources are limited, and programmers are the ones getting from point A to point B. Getting programming into trade shows is one way to alleviate that.

“You need to know your product,” Fregosa continues. “The beauty of software is that it allows us to provide sophisticated solutions. The problem with software is that we’ve got sophisticated solutions that make it difficult to be accessible.” He goes on to say, “Simplicity requires more effort in becoming the value solution. What I’m noticing more and more is that the manufacturers are willing to engage.”

Fregosa and Greenblatt reminisce about the days when they were forced to sign copious nondisclosure agreements when working with software. Now, manufacturers are easier to work with, allowing programmers to find ways to better the industry.

The new shift to software-centric technology allows for more flexibility, both for manufacturers and for programmers. Products can be released earlier and updated when needed. “It doesn’t put you as a slave to the engineer,” Deatrick says. There’s more flexibility now, especially with supply chain issues making it harder to obtain hardware.

“You can look at it one of two ways, right?” Fregosa asks. “You can bemoan the fact that, ‘Oh, it’s not like the way it used to be.’ Or we can say, ‘OK, we’re moving into that new direction.’ And it requires building up your chops. You can’t expect to do things the way you’ve always done them.”

The Evolution of Programming at Trade Shows

The programming world is growing and changing from hardware-centric to software-centric. As this happens, programmers will benefit from attending trade shows. These shows allow them to stay up to date on the latest products so they can figure out how to best use their skills to provide new value.

A State of Control is a monthly podcast, and you can listen to the whole episode here or view the episode archive.

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