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InfoComm Exec Director Reassures Pros

InfoComm International Executive Director Randal A. Lemke recently addressed the AV community via an Executive Update e-newsletter.

InfoComm International Executive Director Randal A. Lemke recently addressed the AV community via an Executive Update e-newsletter. In the letter, he recognized the trying economic times but reassured professionals that the AV industry is still in a good financial position.

Lemke referred to a "snapshot economic survey" InfoComm conducted in September. According to the findings:

  • More than two-thirds of AV systems integrators are doing better financially than they were six months ago.

  • Twenty percent have increased staff salaries and benefits in the past six months. Nineteen percent increased staff training budgets.

  • Nearly 65 percent of the AV companies surveyed report the current lending climate has had little-to-no effect on their business thus far.

  • There is a pronounced increase in demand for videoconferencing, perhaps due to increased travel costs and hassles.

"Much of what we learned from this economic snapshot reinforces the findings of InfoComm's Market Forecast Survey, released in February, and InfoComm's Dealer Compensation and Benefits Survey released in June," wrote Lemke. "For instance, 80 percent of industry respondents predicted continued growth this year. Staffing size has also been up for many InfoComm members. Fifty-eight percent of our member companies in North America reported increases in staff size in 2007 and 80 percent expect to increase their staff during 2008. The majority of survey respondents awarded salary increases across all categories, but technical staff were reported to be the most likely to receive increases in 2007."

According to Lemke, AV pros (himself included) should be thankful that commercial AV has remained, for the most part, unaffected by recent economic events, while the residential market and other technology sectors haven't been as fortunate. "We know of only a few commercial AV projects that have been pulled out from under our members, and some of those involved mixed-use multiple-dwelling units," he explained.

Lemke believes the next step is to prepare for the possibility of changing tides. [Editor's note: Lemke's Letter was released prior to the Dow Jones Industrial's September 29 plummet.]

"Much of what we learned from this economic snapshot reinforces the findings of InfoComm's Market Forecast Survey, released in February, and InfoComm's Dealer Compensation and Benefits Survey released in June," wrote Lemke. "For instance, 80 percent of industry respondents predicted continued growth this year. Staffing size has also been up for many InfoComm members. Fifty-eight percent of our member companies in North America reported increases in staff size in 2007 and 80 percent expect to increase their staff during 2008. The majority of survey respondents awarded salary increases across all categories, but technical staff were reported to be the most likely to receive increases in 2007."

According to Lemke, AV pros (himself included) should be thankful that commercial AV has remained, for the most part, unaffected by recent economic events, while the residential market and other technology sectors haven't been as fortunate. "We know of only a few commercial AV projects that have been pulled out from under our members, and some of those involved mixed-use multiple-dwelling units," he explained.

Lemke believes the next step is to prepare for the possibility of changing tides. [Editor's note: Lemke's Letter was released prior to the Dow Jones Industrial's September 29 plummet.]

"Investing in employee training today will help you remain more competitive in a more challenging environment down the road," advised Lemke. "It is a differentiator for your business that can pay dividends in the future. Keeping up-to-date with technology trends will be more important than ever before, if our fortunes start to turn."

He also emphasized that AV will remain an important to business, education and healthcare institutions, and federal, state, and local governments in order to communicate. "With one eye on the market and the other on the economy, we hope the AV industry's positive trend continues to benefit our members. We are certainly heartened by the knowledge that even with downturns, we have the technology and solutions that our customers need to communicate," he concluded.

Members can access a full copy of the InfoComm Economic Snapshot Survey under Member Resources at community.infocomm.org.



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