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Yes, Darn It, AV Pros Matter

Last month, speaking at a vendor summit held by pro AV distributor Stampede near the company's new headquarters outside Buffalo, N.Y., one editor was tasked with telling representatives from display and projector manufacturerswhy their companies should continue to engage pro AV dealers and build stronger relationships based on mutual understanding.

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Brad Grimes

Last month i had the privilege of speaking at a vendor summit held by pro AV distributor Stampede near the company's new headquarters outside Buffalo, N.Y. In the audience were representatives from display and projector manufacturers such as NEC, Panasonic, Epson, InFocus, Samsung, Optoma, Hitachi, and others. My task: Tell them of how I see the market and explain why their companies should continue to engage pro AV dealers and build stronger relationships based on mutual understanding.

The mutual understanding part had a lot to do with discussions about what makes the pro channel different from other electronics channels and why it matters to today's increasingly complex AV installations.

For much of my presentation I was preaching to the choir. Many in the room have a wealth of experience with pro AV. And they asked a lot of the same questions that AV professionals ask, only from the point of view of a vendor. For instance, isn't AV-IT convergence fundamentally changing the role of AV integration? Many agreed AV-IT convergence was a technological phenomenon, not an industry collision. IT staffs still need to protect their networks, provision PCs, and get servers working when they go down. AV pros understand how to set up a projector in a brightly lit room, distribute source signals to the right end points, and optimize sound in, well, any setting. Sure, AV is going digital and riding on IT networks, but IT and AV staffs won't be doing each others' jobs any time soon. Their skill sets are unique, even if it would help both to better understand what the other does.

The fact is, life has evolved into a multimedia experience. AV is becoming integral to everything from how people communicate to how they consume advertising and information. As such, the AV industry's realm of influence should actually grow. Take the role audio will play in upcoming life safety systems. As contributing writer Linda Seid Frembes explores in her feature story "Say What?", the latest code from the National Fire Protection Association stipulates that starting next year, emergency notification systems should be understood, not just heard. As one contractor told Frembes, "Fire safety designers will now understand why for years pro audio integrators have been using three to five times the number of loudspeakers in similar spaces."

And that's just one example of how understanding the science of AV is a unique, 21st-century requirement. I say, go show them how it's done.

Brad Grimes ¦ Editor
e-mail: bgrimes@hanleywood.com



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