There's Strength in Numbers
moment. With the economy in recession and business opportunities tightening, AV professionals are apparently more willing (or have a little more time) to reflect on the challenges they face and the ways in which they face them.
The AV industry is having its "Can we talk?" moment. With the economy in recession and business opportunities tightening, AV professionals are apparently more willing (or have a little more time) to reflect on the challenges they face and the ways in which they face them. Consider: In January, InfoComm International released its most recent Economic Snapshot, based on a survey that generated 1,022 individual responses. The Snapshot before that, released September 2008, was based on just 259 responses.
Credit: James Kegley
As I write this, Pro AV's research team has its own survey out, asking pros, among other things, what markets appear to be the most stable and lucrative going forward. Already it's looking like the survey will yield 50 percent more responses than we'd projected.
Heck, Pro AV's LinkedIn group, which we set up as a way to connect people from around the industry (and around the world, it turns out), grew to more than 500 members in little over a month. Already, pros are using the group to share insights about particular solutions, make business contacts, and discuss issues facing their businesses.
Point being, we're all in this together. Even when business is booming (and for many it still is), integrators, consultants, manufacturers, and their reps, make the pie grow bigger by communicating their plans, frustrations, strategies, best practices, and wins. Which is why we sent contributing editor Linda Seid Frembes to talk to people at every point in the pro AV value chain (see "Inside the Pro AV Channel," page 38). Her story lays out how each member in the chain operates, either in conjunction or alone, so that everyone might better understand their myriad roles and hopefully work better as a community.
Manufacturer's rep Matthew Sittloh tells Frembes about his work with AV dealers, "I try to teach them to sell more than just on price; to not undercut each other and to focus on streamlining processes."
At June's InfoComm 09 in Orlando, I'll be moderating the Manufacturers' Forum, with executives from Bosch, NEC, Polycom, and Scala talking about the state of the industry. If you've been to forums past, you know one of the themes from the audience is, to paraphrase, "What can you do for me?" The question is legit, but this year I expect we'll focus more on what we can do for each other. Send me questions in advance and I'll pose the most popular to the panel. Working together, we'll build an even healthier and more prosperous pro AV industry.