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Inside AVI

At a time when many AV firms are finding it difficult to grow at all, the last three years for Tampa, FL-based Audio Visual Innovations Inc., have been nothing short of phenomenal. According to the company's executive management team, AVI will bring in about $200 million this year, an increase from about $170 million in 2004 ? and double the company's revenues from only three years ago.

Three years ago, AVI decided to expand the University with a customer day, providing some equipment, systems, and management basics to client personnel. It was immediately popular and remains a key feature of AVI University. “This has been one of the most rewarding projects I've worked on in nearly 20 years at AVI,” Scanlon says.

Schaffel says AVI's future growth, like its past success, will hinge on the company's ability to respond to big changes in the industry. One of the biggest transformations is the emergence of networking as the basis of many of the industry's largest new jobs and most important opportunities.

“The heart of an AV system used to be an expensive display device,” Schaffel says. “Now that device is a minor expense, and the system is the product.”

Continuing to succeed in this changed environment means AV companies have to expand their knowledge well beyond their traditional grounding in video, audio, and control systems. Mastery of networks, and the ability to work effectively with information technology specialists, will be key. But for companies able to make this transition, growth and profits are still out there.

For more details on AVI's Gaylord Texan Resort and Conference Center project, see “Hotel Bar Sports Winning AV Installation — New $1-million AV system in a 7,500-square-foot sports bar at the new Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center allows for control of seven independent audio zones and multiple video displays from a single location,” May 2004

John McKeon is an independent consultant and writer based in the Washington D.C. area. He can be reached at

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