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Envisioning Opportunity

There's a difference between seeing and envisioning. In sports, our coaches always told us to envision the outcome we wanted to achieve ? the hole in the defense, the finish line, the end zone. Athletes at all levels use this as a tool to reach the desired outcome.

There's a difference between seeing and envisioning. In sports, our coaches always told us to envision the outcome we wanted to achieve — the hole in the defense, the finish line, the end zone. Athletes at all levels use this as a tool to reach the desired outcome. The same thing is true in pro AV. If you're merely looking for ways to grow or differentiate your business, you're probably going to fail. The unique opportunities are not going to be out there visible for everyone to see. If you can envision applications that perhaps haven't been attempted before, you stand a better chance of creating success.

Last weekend, while gazing out the window of a downtown restaurant, I witnessed someone's AV vision. Watching cabs drive by, I noticed a cab-top video display showing moving footage of some advertising message. Obvious? Perhaps, but someone foresaw this marriage of AV technologies, digital signage, and available space. Of course, cabs tops have long been used for marketing, but actually mounting a flat-panel display and wirelessly managing content is an ingenious example of what can be accomplished by matching AV technologies with customer needs.

And it's not that hard to be a genius. Make a list of all the traditional AV tools with which your company is currently familiar. Make another list of “enabling” technologies — the “What's Next” technologies you've read about in PRO AV: wireless, GPS, RFID, nanotech, etc. Then combine them with customer needs — be sure to “envision” both current and future customers. What are their communication needs? And more important, how could you combine your bag of AV tricks and technologies to fulfill them?

Not every AV business depends on continually stretching the boundaries of AV applications. Many prosper by delivering traditional solutions to the same vertical markets. It may be true that the stream of truly innovative, “disruptive” AV products and technologies is slowing down, but this is no excuse for not growing a business. There are an infinite number of ways to combine existing technologies with common customer needs to visualize a totally “new” AV application, such as the cab-top mobile digital signage. Maybe you can't see them right in front of you, as I did looking out that restaurant window, but they are there, waiting to be envisioned.

Mark Mayfield
Editor



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