January 15, 2019 by Margot Douaihy

Sailing into the Unknown: TIDE 2019 Reflections

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” This observation by author Annie Dillard is a reminder — and a warning. It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of daily fire drills, catching up, and keeping up (Twitter, Facebook), that proactive planning often takes a back seat. Whether it’s a business, creative, or personal project, long-term strategizing is the key to staying relevant.

In this moment of rapid change, where more technological ecosystems are interconnected, and the user experience has become crucially important, AV stakeholders need big-picture strategies, bold new ideas, and creative capital to plot the next chapters of growth. To that end, AVIXA hosts TIDE, a dynamic conference co-located with InfoComm. Standing for Technology, Innovation,  Design and Experience, TIDE offers the AV, live event, and design communities new strategies for enhancing business outcomes. Now in its third year, TIDE brings together world-leading thinkers, disrupters, technologists, artists, architects, and authors for a day of panels, ideation sessions, and inspiring talks about the future of integrated experiences. Here are four key takeaways from TIDE 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

1. Make It Your Own It: Dare to be Different

If Netflix didn’t shift from its postal-based movie rental model into streaming and original content creation, we’d be living in a much different world. The ability to try and fail, experiment, and pivot are crucial for sustained growth. This tenet was at the heart of Srinivas Rao’s spirited keynote address. Rao is the host and founder of the podcast The Unmistakable Creative and a Wall Street Journal best-selling author of three books. In his spirited keynote, he shared ways to inject disruptive energy into established business processes. Rao also outlined methods for organizations and individuals to leverage creative principles and increase productivity while “making yourself unforgettable” and “standing out in a sea of sameness.”

Srinivas Rao

2. Co-Creation: Our Differences Are Our Strengths

Miral Kotb brought the TIDE audience to tears with her inspiring afternoon keynote. Kotb received a degree in computer science from Columbia University while building her dance practice in New York City. In 2009, she bridged her two passions to create iLuminate, her company that mixes wearable LED technologies with choreography performed in the dark to create interactive audience experiences. Kotb used her keynote stage to inspire a culture of collaboration and share her compelling personal journey as a software developer, renowned dancer, and cancer survivor. While technology and dance may seem distinctly different, she believes the end game is the same: crafting exceptional experiences. There are valuable skills and ideas that can only be discovered in the cross-pollination and co-creation processes as we “push the boundaries” from every side. Kotb encouraged TIDE attendees to build a team with diverse talents, skillsets, and perspectives; create your mission statement and let your true self shine beyond the lights; cultivate an environment of co-inspiration; give your team the tools they need to succeed; and trust your team and let them soar.

Miral Kotb

3. Visualize It: Data With Context   

In her presentation, “Designing Data-Driven Generative Content for Digital Installations,” Mary Franck, Senior Interaction Designer, ESI Design, cogently illustrated how all the data that runs our lives can be visualized to create context and meaning. “Content generation is a constant challenge,” she said, but what if you could engineer a responsive system that creates its own content? This concept drives Franck’s practice with ESI; she challenged TIDE participants to put this radical notion to work in their organizations.

Mary Franck

4. Experiences that Resonate

TIDE also featured a bevy of interactive workshops and panel discussions, including a session devoted to the science and creativity of surface haptics. Panelists shared best practices for bringing programmable textures to digital displays, adding more depth to interactive experiences.   

J. Damany Daniel, Chief Imaginator at The Event Nerd, was impressed with the creativity of the TIDE presenters. “One of the greatest things about TIDE was the ability to hear from people pushing real (physical, technological, psychological) boundaries to create experiences that resonate with the core of who people are, not just the behaviors we can track on a spreadsheet,” he said. 

According to Daniel, live events and integrated experiences are “the rare moments when you can bring a room full of strangers together” in real time and give them something unified to believe in and connect to. “One of the things I'm most excited to unpack from the TIDE Conference is the way that we can effectively use the right technologies to foster and deepen those connections,” he said. “It's not just about the types of technology we learned about, it's the way those technologies connect, both with each other, and with each of us.”

Mark Ostach, Account Director at Skidmore Studio in Detroit, MI, pointed to the dynamism of TIDE attendees as a highlight. “My biggest takeaway were the new friendships I made at the conference. So many wonderful people from throughout the country (and world) came together for a one-day event. I felt so inspired to come back to Detroit and continue thinking about how we can create experiences for our clients that are centered on design yet supported by the latest innovations in technology and AV.” Ostach is also excited to see how the advancements in touch-screen innovation will influence the mainstream market. “There are so many applications for this technology to grow,” he said. 


Want to stay agile in an evolving industry while also nurturing creativity in your business culture? Subscribe to the TIDE newsletter

About Margot Douaihy

Margot Douaihy is the editor at large of AV Technology magazine. She teaches at Franklin Pierce University.