At our AVI LIVE - San Diego technology event, our CTO, Brad Sousa, shared his personal observations about the AV industry…and he made a bold prediction about the future.
It was the perfect setting for this conversation, as IT and AV decision makers in attendance attend AVI LIVE to hear about the latest trends and learn from their peers who face similar challenges.
In his remarks, Brad shared his belief that there’s one big thing that changed everything in the AV industry. This change, he said, is the difference between whether an organization will thrive or merely survive in the years ahead. He believes this one thing is more important than any chipset, cloud service, or gadget, and it will change how AV professionals design solutions for their customers for the next 20 years.
Conference Room AV Solutions
While this same premise applies to other technologies, this prediction focuses solely on conference room AV capabilities. That’s because as Brad and his team talk to IT leaders around the globe, the conversation revolves around one consistent theme.
More specifically, organizations need to deploy more complex AV solutions than they used pre-pandemic. The demand for these solutions has never been higher. In fact, 75 percent of the San Diego attendees said both AV demand and solution complexity are top of mind.
What’s more, participants at our LIVE event said CEOs and the C-Suite are now driving the urgency around AV conference room conversations. AV is no longer something an AV manager or IT director makes decisions about on his or her own.
For the first time in AV industry history, everyone knows if they don’t get conference room AV technology right, the negative impact on employees and organizations will be dramatic!
The Single Biggest Thing: Crossing the Chasm
Conference room AV has, indeed, crossed the chasm in 2022! to be fair, AV technologies have approached the chasm before. There have been some moments where certain technologies leap-frogged the industry, but it was never the sudden boom or significant market shift that we face today. Not even close.
The pandemic changed the landscape. Suddenly conference room AV solutions went BOOM. And it’s been booming since January 2021.
After nearly two years of operating at break-neck speed, some within the AV industry wonder if there is an end in sight. Others want to level up their technology skillset to meet customer needs. Some, like Brad, view this as an opportunity to help customers transform their business.
What comes next for conference room AV technology is best expressed by the book called Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore. Moore describes how disruptive technologies follow a predictable adoption, especially across these two market segments:
- The early market includes innovators and early adopters. They’re visionary, can see where the tech is headed, and are willing to change how they do things to realize its benefits. This group tends to be enamored by the spec side of tech and is fascinated by what’s under the hood and how the solution is engineered. They don’t expect tech to be perfect. This is how we have approached conference room AV for the last 20 years; we communicated how awesome it was by focusing on its specs.
- The mainstream market includes the early majority, the late majority, and the laggards. This group is interested in the value of technology. And this group is massive, representing 400% market growth compared to the early market. So, there’s far more demand, but the focus has shifted from specs to what the tech can do for them. Plus, they don’t have much tolerance for failure or glitches; they just want the tech to do its job. This is where we are today with conference room AV. Demand is up, but users expect the tech to adapt to their needs.
The chasm that separates these two markets is called the graveyard of technology. Companies go here to die when they can’t scale for the mainstream market. Or when they can’t shift the conversation from spec to value, and consumers aren’t interested.
“The single biggest thing that changed everything – and will reshape the conference room AV industry for the next 20 years – is our ability to close the chasm between the early and mainstream markets,” says Sousa.
We’ve closed the chasm before, and we can do it again
We’ve all been through this cycle many times before. For example, when smartphones came on the market, people camped overnight on sidewalks outside of the Apple store to get the newest version. Today, most of us don’t buy our smartphones. We lease it from a carrier.
Further, very few of us care about what technical specifications make the smartphone work. We just know it’s got a great camera, it connects to 5G networks, and we can stream a movie or join a conference call with lightning speed.
In other words, we crossed the chasm.
How conference room AV crosses the chasm
So, how can we advance conference room AV and cross the chasm?
Simple. We approach the chasm with these three things in mind:
- Understand speed is our friend – the current demand for conference room AV tech isn’t a glitch. It’s the beginning of a new world, and our industry needs to move fast. Customers need options like our Velocity solution that can be up and running quickly and are subscription-based. This way, they can upgrade every six to 12 months as new solutions become available. Two weeks to create an estimate is no longer acceptable.
- Focus on creating Human Impact – today’s conference room AV solutions are no longer about specs and engineering. Customers don’t prioritize infrastructure drawings, firewall rules, or whitelisting. Instead, they choose to make it easy for employees to be more productive. The conversation has shifted from “how does it work?” to “how easy is it to click and join a meeting?"
- Shift from projects to programs – when AVI worked with enterprise customers five years ago, the scope of a project might have been to create technology in 12 conference rooms in the same building. Today, the scope includes thousands of conference rooms located across multiple sites around the globe. And end users want interoperability as well as managed services or other add-ons as part of their ecosystem.
Conference room AV solutions are no longer fringe technologies used by big enterprise customers. The solutions are now integrated into the very fabric of how work gets done – everywhere. From small, local operators to the biggest global brands, you likely need solutions in multiple locations across your workplace. And this topic is probably top of mind for your leadership.
As your systems integration partner, we’ll help you cross the chasm by working quickly, understanding how to explain benefits in a user-focused way, and delivering capacity at scale. Schedule a consult with us today!