The author is executive vice president of sales, marketing and strategy for Telos Alliance.
Whose life hasn’t changed as a result of the pandemic?
Who among us hasn’t developed a different mindset or habit in one or more areas of our lives over the last couple of years?
Who would have thought that the majority of our on-air presenters and anchor teams would be working in closets and basements or at kitchen tables for months at a time doing their work?
Look at the value of the content created during the pandemic. It was among the most informative and helpful broadcasting ever done by radio and television to help our world through a very difficult time.
As a manufacturer and solution provider, we have relied on trade shows to meet with customers and show the state-of-the-art equipment; however, the trade show industry has also been greatly affected by the pandemic.
For a while, shows were shut down as were airlines, concerts and other crowd intensive activities. Yet during the time without trade shows, our industry used the internet and conferencing technologies to learn what we needed to know and to discuss topics vital to forward progress like virtualization, cloud computing and other very modern approaches to creating and delivering content. Clearly, the industry figured out how to “learn and grow” without being at a show.
Throughout this time, customers told us what was missing: seeing people in the industry that we so deeply care about. And we heard it often. It became crystal clear that a top priority would be reconnecting face-to-face with our industry colleagues when it was safe to do so whether in smaller gatherings or at shows. Having conversations as we are used to. Virtual meetings are fatiguing and very unsatisfying to folks who are used to seeing each other multiple times per year. As an industry, we craved real connection again. At Telos we have always needed this time to listen and learn and make sure we are doing the right things.
This realization forced us to think and plan differently about shows now that they have started again. For many months leading up to NAB, and now IBC, it seemed that everyone was talking about what it would be like. Of course, predictably, some reverted back to the way it’s always been done. We decided to go a different way. We decided not to bring gear to IBC and instead focus our entire presence on conversations. Face-to-face meetings. Reconnection.
Our conclusion was based on years of experience that consistently showed us that visitors to our booth were much more interested in talking about their projects and how we could help them as opposed to spending a lot of time with our solutions (gear and software). We realized that our visitors always preferred a customized demo in their facility as a follow-up versus touching our gear at a show. They made it very clear that the demo they wanted and needed was inside their facility with their team – not in Las Vegas or Amsterdam.
Don’t misunderstand — they wanted to see us and talk about their future. They just didn’t place much priority on the gear being a part of this conversation because they realized that in most cases a trade show is a poor environment for demonstrations and they would see our solutions in a much more helpful way after the show.
So, at IBC this year, we will not have gear with us. But our team will be there and we will be ready to use our booth to reconnect with our friends and have those key discussions to help our customers move forward into what’s next for their teams and facilities. And we have so much to share after two years of focused R&D across a wide range of our offerings. We don’t think folks will miss the gear because over the past few years they made it pretty clear that it was not important at the show. They voted for human connection. And that is how COVID taught us to think differently. Hope to see you in Amsterdam!