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16 thedaily

VIP Preview Edition 2013

interview: David Labuskes ‘It’s a dream job for me’

ISE 2013 will be the first InfoComm-organised tradeshow under the auspices of its new executive director and CEO, David Labuskes. He spoke to thedaily about his plans for the organisation and his view of current industry trends

What attracted you to working for InfoComm? I have been a member of Info- Comm for more than 10 years. During that time I have been extraordinarily impressed by the quality of the organisation and its membership. The idea that I could serve the organisation in the role as executive director/CEO was immensely appealing to me in that regard. Further, my background in the built environment leading a design consulting firm well posi- tioned me to understand a signifi- cant amount of the industry served by InfoComm.

On a parallel track, I have been

a very active volunteer member of other industry associations, serving on committees and leadership positions, and always found this work to be extremely satisfying. The position at InfoComm allowed me to extend my profes- sional and volunteer experience within an organisation that I deeply respected while at the same time offering an opportunity for professional growth. It’s a dream job for me, really.

What do you feel you can bring to your new role? I bring an understanding of the industry from a participant’s per- spective. I also offer the experience of several successful entrepreneur- ial positions involving technology and product development. I have an excitement about industry asso- ciations and a willingness to learn more about the priorities of our members and stakeholders. We must ensure that those are being met in a manner that ensures that InfoComm continues to be a valu- able part of their strategic plans. I also have significant experi-

ence in working around the world with projects in Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Clearly all of us are part of a global industry today that demands a perspective that reaches beyond the borders of the United States. I’m very excited about the growth and the value that Info- Comm has experienced and deliv- ered internationally and I look forward to a continuation and strengthening of that.

AV-IT convergence has been a topic within the industry for years. How far down the road has the industry travelled? I believe convergence should be talked about in terms of technology

and culture. Technologically, the industry has progressed to the point where the discussion is almost moot. In almost any professional application of an audiovisual sys- tem technology there is reliance upon network protocols for com- munication of signals. Culturally, the path is laid out and many are taking steps along it, but we still have further to go in this regard.

What else needs to happen before that convergence is complete? I see most of the various industry participants continuing to advance the technological integration as a part of the competitive landscape. The innovations and capabilities that come from this convergence

for the end-users’ benefit will con- tinue to compel advances. What InfoComm can and will do is pro- vide an environment for the inte- grators, users and consultants to either develop or enhance their expertise in applying these features to the benefit of their clients. In the end, it’s about education – not only education on ‘how to do it’ but also education on how to do it well. And we shouldn’t lose track of the importance of industry stan- dards, which can serve as objective benchmarks against which the solutions can be evaluated.

What can InfoComm do to help that to happen? The areas I mentioned above

(standards, education and so on) are those which an industry asso- ciation, such as InfoComm, is uniquely positioned to cham- pion. Without qualified profes- sionals, the technology solutions are nearly impossible to imple- ment – regardless of whether or not they are manufactured. We must ensure that there are oppor- tunities for the professionals in our industry to develop this expertise. And without standards and certifications, it is very diffi- cult to objectively evaluate the quality of a solution. I believe that InfoComm has been a leader in this regard and it would be my intent to see that leadership con- tinue and strengthen.

How much potential do you see in the ‘smart buildings’ con- cept? How deeply do you think it will penetrate the market? I think there’s huge potential in this area. But there’s a lot of work to be done as well. This is another example where standards and def- initions are a fundamental require- ment for moving forward. There are currently hundreds of defini- tions of ‘smart’ being used within the industry. Manufacturers use the definition that best competitively advantages them. Consultants are using definitions that assist them in applying their expertise within a design project (and that protect them from offering expertise that they don’t have). Integrators are

Most recently, David Labuskes spent more than 13 years as vice president of RTKL, a leading architectural and engineering firm. He founded the company’s Technology Design Practice, overseeing the delivery of audiovisual, voice, data, wireless, environmental media, electronic security and

acoustics services

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