For the many who were there, you know the story: great venue, great weather, great company and great information sharing. For those who weren’t, I’ll tell you a bit about the event from an AMX perspective.
Firstly the weather: when I heard it was to be Cairns in November, I immediately thought of heat, humidity and clothes dripping with perspiration and warned everyone to expect some discomfort. How wrong was I? The weather was just perfect for the whole week.
Back in 2009, we started what has become a tradition for us in bringing an international presenter to the conference. We feel it’s valuable to be able to present a global perspective to our industry; to give our tertiary sector some exposure to trends emerging overseas. Interestingly it also works in reverse too – our international presenters get to see and hear first hand what a great job us Aussies and Kiwis are doing with educational technology.
Last year we brought Casey Foulds, Education Relationship Manager (ERM) from Dallas to present and to tours some of our facilities. This year we invited Joe Jackson who works with Casey in an identical role in the US. Like Casey, Joe has a long university history and is genuinely passionate about the ERM role and about how AMX partners work with universities.
And to add more emphasis to how serious we are about our partnerships, we had a third ERM in the form of Jared Walley from our Melbourne office present for the whole event. I’ll ask Jared to share his views of the conference as an AETM first-timer a bit later.
Joe’s keynote presentation focused on two emerging trends in the US university sector – a fresh look at what a collaborative learning space is; and a move towards DIY system configuration instead of dealer-provided programming services. Most people think of collaborative learning spaces as complex, expensive systems using hardware or software content switching and distribution. But as Joe pointed out, a simple huddle space is a collaboration space. And everything in between.
On the Configuration v. Programming trend, Joe highlighted that they are not mutually exclusive and that each has its place. A case study at Rhodes College was used to illustrate the potential of our RPM configuration tool. An IT manager with little AV experience was able to deliver 32 fully functional rooms to his college in 3 weeks – by himself! Not a single line of code and no external programmers required.
I was privileged to spend a fair bit of time with Joe during and after the conference and I know he really enjoyed his time in Australia and was impressed by both the people he met and the systems he saw.
So what did Jared take away from his first AETM conference?
AETM 2014 was a fantastic event, my first full AETM conference. It proved a great opportunity for us vendors to spend significant amounts of time with you, the University AV managers, engineers and decision makers in an environment without your everyday pressures pushing you for time.
The dinners and “off the clock” time also provide many opportunities for personal relationship growth which I believe is critical to building trust and an understanding of each other’s needs. You are a great group of guys and girls who are absolutely fundamental to our success and the better we know you and look after you the further our businesses can continue to grow together.
I have been a little blown away by the comradery and mate ship between the Universities. In an environment which on one hand is so competitive, come a group so knowledgeable and experienced, yet so generous and eager to share your ideas, findings, successes and failures. I love it!
The Gala dinner really brought it home for me as I listened to the speeches, farewells, thank you’s and stories that were shared that night. This is why people stay at universities for so long and this is why, after 14 years we are still sponsoring such a great event!
Thanks Jared. I could tell you were enjoying yourself!!