It almost started out as a joke, as many things do. “Megan! Maybe you should come work at rAVe, HAHA!” But it got us thinking, “We’ve been growing at an exponential rate. We’ve been looking for someone who can pioneer our latest offering. Well, of course, the perfect person to do that is Megan Dutta.” So, we pitched her the job. She accepted. What started as a joke could become one of the best decisions our team has ever made.
We knew it would leave everyone with questions. We knew it would create a giant splash. So — Sara Abrons, editor-at-large for rAVe [PUBS] and co-founder of THE rAVe Agency, and I, managing editor of rAVe [PUBS], sat down with Megan and had a conversation about the following:
What does this all mean? What the heck is rAVe up to now? Does this mean rAVe officially has a reputation of hiring bad-ass powerhouse women? (Half kidding about that last one.)
Steph: So, the cat’s out of the bag now; you’re joining the rAVe team! I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re so excited to have you here! Let’s start by telling everyone about what your role will be.
Megan: My role at rAVe will be director of emerging markets. I’ll be responsible for discovering the way new technologies can enhance the world of ProAV and other markets — starting with the exciting field of extended realities (XR). Events have always been a passion of mine and I’ll also be heading up curated events on the LAVNCH platform; this will also include new live events once it’s safe to gather together again in person.
Sara: Let’s talk about emerging markets for a second. When we talk about that and essentially “emerging technologies” what does that mean to you?
Megan: Emerging technologies, to me, means new product developments with potentials that are not yet realized or fully appreciated. Take extended reality for example … consumers are just starting to embrace this technology, but it’s severely underutilized in commercial AV. The possibilities that XR brings are endless and we should be embracing them. My goal will be to educate AV professionals and others about why this technology matters while exploring potential use cases.
Steph: So, not only is this a new role for you, but it’s a new role for us too. Everyone knew us as the people who created rAVe [PUBS], then it became the people who created THE rAVe Agency and now we’re the people who created LAVNCH. This director of emerging technologies role is going to live under LAVNCH and be part of that brand. Does pioneering a role like this excite you? What excites you most about joining the rAVe team?
Megan: I’ve always admired the way the rAVe team thinks outside the box, whether it’s exploring new markets or bringing a fun experience to trade shows. I’m excited to be a part of that and work with a team who can help turn my crazy ideas into realities.
Sara: Speaking of new markets, new ideas and the like, let’s chat about how the industry has changed since you’ve been here. I’ve noticed that even in the past five years there have been some tremendous changes. What are a few things that have stood out to you?
Megan: I could go on and on about this one! I often think back to when I started in the industry doing trade shows for Peerless-AV and how we had to run a gazillion cables under the carpet to bring content to the live displays we had; if you wanted to change one thing, it would take hours because you’d have to pull up the carpet and move all of the cables. And, even crazier, nobody cared what content was on the screen — we’d just play movies or TV shows. Now, media players can be set up remotely or are small enough to fit right behind the display and content is king. As the technology has improved, it’s made AV professionals’ lives easier and has allowed us to become more creative.
Sara: Technology will keep improving; that’s for sure. What are a few trends in AV/tech that will transform the industry over the next decade?
Megan: Well, first, in order for trends to truly transform ProAV, we need to learn to be more accepting of new technologies and methods of doing business. We’ve been talking about AV-over-IP forever, and the transition has been super slow because we are hesitant to adopt new technologies, and/or working with new departments to get said technologies installed (hello AV vs. IT wars).
I really do believe XR has huge potential and will play a large role in business going forward. Instead of showing a client a flat drawing of their new conference room, imagine being able to give them an immersive tour using XR. Companies like MoodusVR are starting to do this already, and hopefully ProAV will be open to the benefits of products like this. And, rAVe pioneered hybrid coverage of shows using virtual reality for booth tours, with rAVe [VR], back in 2018.
Steph: So we’ve established that you’re passionate about technology that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet. Which is great since that’s what you’ll be heading up at rAVe. What is your favorite market segment to talk about? What tech do you nerd out over?
Megan: I really enjoy learning about the experiences ProAV can bring to users, attendees, etc. I love how AV can be used to get someone out of a museum and transport them to, say, the middle of a jungle searching for chimpanzees with Jane Goodall. The power of AV can be astounding, and I truly enjoy watching it come to life through experiences like that.
Steph: I want to end this on a high note. Let’s talk about trade shows because I can’t wait for them to return and I can’t wait for you to attend them with us as part of our team. I feel like anyone who’s been in the industry as long as you have has some crazy trade show stories. Even I do! Sara — remember when an intern at InfoComm a few years ago accidentally threw away Gary’s Amex and had to dig in the trash for it for two hours?
Steph: Oh. Now you do. Anyway, Megan, tell us your craziest trade show story before I out anybody else for theirs.
Megan: I am legally not allowed to say …
Don’t worry everyone. I’ll wear her down eventually. For more information, visit LAVNCH.com. Now everyone reach out to Megan and tell her congrats on joining the purple side!