March 14, 2018 by Brad Grimes

Hunt Library Creativity StudioWhen I wrote this, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) had recently ended. By all accounts it was another celebration of cutting-edge audiovisual technology, personal devices, artificial intelligence, AR/VR, and more. AVIXA’s own Integrated Systems Europe exhibition in Amsterdam (in conjunction with CEDIA) — a massive showcase of both commercial and residential AV, as well as smart building technologies — just welcomed another record crowd. And for all the early-bird-gets-the-worm types out there, registration for June’s InfoComm 2018 show in Las Vegas — the first InfoComm since the trade association became AVIXA last September — just opened at

What do they all have in common? A new reality. For years we’ve talked about enterprise audiovisual solutions blowing out the walls of the traditional conference room to reach across corporate campuses and offices around the world. Now, of course, they also touch the home office. Moving ahead, audiovisual experiences will be all around us, and increasingly, they will come to define a more seamless, integrated way of experiencing the world.

At CES, Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald showed off what the cruise company calls the Ocean Medallion. It’s basically a wearable device designed to customize the cruise experience on ships where there could be 3,500 or more passengers and up to 20 different decks, not to mention hundreds of amenities and entertainment options to keep you busy. Slip the Medallion into your pocket or wear it around your wrist or neck. Thousands of onboard sensors and screen interfaces are integrated to help make that huge ship feel a little smaller — and personal — through simple conveniences (keyless entry to your cabin), recommendations (the ships “learns” your preferences), wayfinding (you finding your way and staff finding you more quickly — like when you order a cocktail), and more.

Carnival’s Princess Cruises line will be the first to roll out this integrated experience. AVIXA has been fortunate to work with Derrin Brown, Princess Cruises Manager of Production Operations, as we engage with the hospitality industry, among other end-user markets. In addition to the Ocean Medallion, Princess Cruises continues to invest in new and better AV technology — from video walls, to immersive 360-degree audio, to adaptive lighting — understanding well that they need to keep pace with the ubiquity of AV experiences in order to draw passengers and build loyalty.

“It’s a really dynamic, evolving challenge,” Brown says. “We want to provide the platforms and availability for people to use their technology on our cruise ships, seamlessly.” (Read more about what Princess Cruises is doing at

Integrated Life Web ConferenceThis is what AVIXA calls an Integrated Life. It’s where commercial and residential AV intersect; where personal and public technology interoperate; and where the AV that people experience at work, home, and everywhere in between starts to blend.

InfoComm 2018 in June will represent one of our first major forays into the Integrated Life. Since we announced the plan to introduce programming and exhibitions devoted to this confluence of commercial, residential, and personal technologies, we’ve partnered with Parks Associates to bring the Integrated Life to, well, life. Respected research firm Parks Associates runs the popular CONNECTIONS Conference Series at events like CES and elsewhere, as well as summits devoted to smart energy and connected health. Their analysts have unique insight into Internet of Things and connected home technologies and can put them into the context of professional AV and integrated solutions.

The day-long Integrated Life program at InfoComm 2018 will be held the Tuesday before the exhibit floor opens, on June 5. The goal is to bring new voices, solutions, and opportunities to InfoComm and get the creative juices flowing. How else can audiovisual technology make life better? Have you seen video of Samsung’s Safety Truck prototype, for example? With cameras on the front of the truck and a 2X2 video wall on the back, cars following behind the truck can see what’s ahead of it and avoid accidents. Viable? Time will tell. A potentially innovative, creative use of AV in everyday, integrated life? You bet.

The Integrated Life program that Parks Associates brings to InfoComm 2018 is still in development, but topics will include simplifying AV experiences across platforms; opportunities for building business ecosystems that span the commercial and residential markets; trends in the deployment of voice, artificial intelligence, AR/VR and more across customer applications; future developments in smart home and IoT technologies; and, of course, issues of security and privacy in an AV world increasing defined by bring-your-own-device (BYOD) mobility.

Having spent Tuesday of InfoComm 2018 learning about the Integrated Life, you’ll be able to experience it on the show floor, where technologies not normally associated with commercial AV integration will be on display. Distinctions are falling away. There is very little boundary left between the way you experience technology in your work and personal lives.

In a roundtable discussion with hospitality designers and operators, seated next to Princess Cruises’ Derrin Brown, AVIXA CEO David Labuskes summed up how all of them described their strategic use of AV technology in hotels and ships: “What we’re really doing is creating these microcosms of life itself…. At the center of it all is not the technology; it’s the human being.”

The industry is headed toward an exciting future. Learn, innovate, enjoy. See you in June.


About Brad Grimes

Brad Grimes is Editor at Large for AVIXA and the former editor of Pro AV magazine. He has been writing about technology for more than 25 years.