Focus on Corporate AV: Multifunctional AV Network for Businesses
Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By John DeWitt
Small professional businesses such as dental practices represent a conundrum of opportunity versus challenge for AV providers and integrators.
These prospective clients have money to invest in AV. Dentists and similar professionals typically enjoy higher profit margins and a more consistent clientele than mom-and-pop businesses of similar size. Just considering dentists alone, there are 155,000 in North America. This represents an enormous, largely untapped market. Because they are independent operators, it can be much easier to reach the decision-maker. Moreover, in many respects, they are sophisticated clients who operate sleek, customer-centric, technology-savvy businesses with correspondingly high expectations for AV technology.
On the other hand, independent professionals are a tough sell. They are as frugal as any mom-and-pop business, and they are reluctant to invest in any technology that doesn't contribute to either increasing their clinical competence, improving their bottom line, or both. Yet, unlike mom-and-pops, they are leery of overt advertising and sales tools. Although they use sophisticated equipment, they have limited inhouse IT expertise. Furthermore, they expect their technology providers — whether equipment technicians or AV pros — to present themselves professionally.
“A lot of big integration companies have done well in the retail and restaurant sector,” says Ray Heiser, managing AV and digital-signage integrator of Creative Marketing and Merchandising Media Solutions (c3ms). “Walking into and working in a professional environment, like a dental office, the level of professionalism and the level of client interface are higher.”
Heiser spent several years figuring out how to bring interactive AV networks into oral-healthcare practices. Working in partnership with Nobel Biocare — which sold nearly $1 billion of dental implants last year — and digital-signage software and player manufacturer Real Digital Media (RDM), c3ms is on track to implement its NobelVision Network AV systems in more than 1,000 North American dental offices by the end of this year.
Launched this last January after two years of development, the NobelVision concept combines innovative business, content, and technology models to resolve the conundrum of selling and implementing AV networks in a professional business setting. Although the NobelVision network is built and deployed upon a modified digital-signage network backbone, it is distinctly different from a typical retail media network. It operates more like a multifunction corporate AV network that provides a combination of educationally oriented corporate communications, consumer entertainment, and distance learning. Moreover, NobelVision's users are not just dental patients, but also the dentists and their staffs.
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