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5-Minute Interview: Sanju Khatri

Sanju Khatri, principal analyst, projection and large-screen displays, iSuppli, an El Segundo, CA-based electronics industry research firm. iSuppli provides research on interdependent parts of the electronics supply chain, including component and application markets, emerging technologies, inventory, component pricing, and manufacturing.

Sanju Khatri, principal analyst, projection and large-screen displays, iSuppli, an El Segundo, CA-based electronics industry research firm. iSuppli provides research on interdependent parts of the electronics supply chain, including component and application markets, emerging technologies, inventory, component pricing, and manufacturing.

Pro AV:In your presentation at the InfoComm 2005 Projection Summit in June, you explained that the IT channel is gaining importance in the pro AV display market. Is it gaining in importance for end-users as a means of purchasing equipment, or for systems integrators as a potential threat?

Khatri: Actually, both. The pro AV market is becoming mature, where products are becoming more plug and play, and where customers are gaining enough confidence and familiarity with the products that they now buy directly from IT and retail channels. The end-users are getting more comfortable with buying equipment from these channels, and the supply retailers have is causing a threat to the pro AV dealers and systems integrators. However, that threat is only with low-end systems or very simple solutions.

Pro AV:You also examined several vertical markets such as conference rooms, indoor venues, retail, and signage, and concluded that the IT and direct channels pose a future threat in these areas. Do you think the pro AV systems integrator will eventually become obsolete?

Khatri: I don't think so. The pro AV market is expanding. If you take a look at the education, conference room, or signage market, they are all becoming more pro AV-oriented. No matter where you go, you see more displays. Society is becoming more interactive. The low-end market is going more toward retailers and IT. However, in markets where design, solutions, training, and maintenance are required, pro AV still has the attention of those segments.

Pro AV:Will the growth of such specialized installations be enough to sustain AV pros with the decreasing number of opportunities in the low end of the market?

Khatri: Definitely. However, for pro AV dealers and systems integrators, the challenge is to educate themselves about the latest solutions and technology so that they can provide the entire solution to the end-user, instead of just selling boxes, because IT and retail will do that. Another way integrators can differentiate themselves is to provide full-time maintenance or train end-users on how to maintain the system they've installed. The pro AV dealers who stay ahead of the curve on this are the ones who will survive.

Pro AV:What is currently the most promising vertical market segment or product application for pro AV display and projection systems?

Khatri: Indoor venues. I would also include hospitality in that segment, which includes hotel rooms, lobbies, bars, casinos, nightclubs, restaurants, museums, and civic centers. That area is really expanding. For large-screen displays, the transportation market was the earliest adopter, and now I see the indoor venues market really taking off.

Pro AV:Are there any technologies on the horizon that could eventually compete with LCD and plasma for commercial large-venue displays?

Khatri: There are other ones such as OLEDs, but not for large-venues. LCDs are coming on very strong in the 40- to 42-inch sizes. For the large screens, it's going to be LCDs, plasmas, rear-projection videowalls, and LEDs.

Pro AV:Do you see large-venue display prices continuing to decrease?

Khatri: Definitely, as a result of mass production, and because the panel makers are slashing prices on LCD and plasma panels as more companies produce them.



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