You could be forgiven for thinking that the AV industry is about to enter a perfect storm,one that’s been brewing gently for some time as AV and IT merge and manufacturers, distributors and system integrators all clamber to establish their roles in this fast changing environment. But looked at pragmatically, we don’t see a perfect storm at all; instead, we see a perfect opportunity for each stakeholder in the AV industry to further their success.
But let’s wind back a step or two. There’s no doubt that AV and IT have – rightly! – merged, but this hasn’t occurred without rocking the status quo between manufacturers, distributors and system integrators. Even Vivitek has changed in order to accommodate this. Once, we were a ‘mere’ hardware manufacturer; then we evolved into a hardware and software manufacturer, and now we are a hardware, software and solutions provider; in short, the AV/IT evolution has been driven in response to the call for more collaborative solutions. Staying static – as a manufacturer – just wasn’t an option.
This dynamic shift seen throughout the IT and AV industry – the move to digital – has put a spotlight on the role of the system integrator in particular, in light of possible power struggles between them, manufacturers and distributor partners. But, rather than diminishing the role of the system integrator, we think that in this era they are more important than ever before. That’s because as AV becomes more complete in response to customer demands, it has also become more complex. Therefore, the onus is really on the system integrator to ensure that the AV technology and the solution delivered to the customer meets with the agreed designed specification, and, critically works in situ. Given that requirement though, it is important that systems integrators are bold enough to state whether an installation is too complex for them or is beyond their specialisms. Playing to their strengths and abilities will favour them in the long term.
It is only by working hand in hand with system integrators and distributor partners that we can get closer to our customers and their needs. Only then can we create products and solutions that wow them and drive an end user experience that has them coming back for more.
Of course, as a manufacturer we can do more, too. At Vivitek, we think manufacturers like us have a role to educate end users, whether through our channel partners or direct. That’s why we’ve invested in end user training portals to ensure the best possible user experience. But that cannot be achieved in isolation, which is why we think that although the AV world is forcing change between all parties and stakeholders, we all need defined roles and we need each other just as much as we did before if we’re going to reach our combined goal of customer satisfaction.