As the pro AV industry continues to evolve, it’s inevitable that certain trends fall out of favor. Luckily, technology innovations have helped to ensure that these days you don’t have to work with many giant CRT televisions or point-and-click wayfinding systems.
While technology progresses, the role of the value-added reseller (VAR) has continued to evolve as well. As the industry continues to grow more competitive, VARs are challenged to step up to the opportunity. The result is highly informed, highly service-oriented resellers who are wowing their customers with technology that perfectly meets or even exceeds their expectations.
As we look to the future, let’s celebrate these four pro AV trends that are definitely a thing of the past:
1. The proprietary, closed system.
Increasingly, commercial technology is all about open, interoperable standards that enable a best-in-class system for customers of all kinds. As the pro AV industry gradually moves toward technology standards, the day of the proprietary, closed device is coming to an end. If you haven’t already embraced standards and best practices, it’s time to catch up.
2. The ‘siloed’ AV project.
Years ago, the vast majority of pro AV projects had nothing to do with a company’s IT department. AV operated in silos, without having to integrate with or run on any IT systems. However, we all know that this is no longer the case.
Today’s pro AV VARs should be well-versed in IT-speak. With each passing year, AV systems become increasingly networked, and CIOs, CTOs and IT managers are making more of the purchasing and design decisions.
Meanwhile, many businesses are starting to closely integrate their “smart building” efforts with both AV and IT. Many building automation systems and building management systems now operate on the IP network and include controls for AV systems, such as digital signage, audio and wayfinding systems. In certain applications, today’s AV systems are even being considered for their role in fire safety and emergency notification. Gone are the days of the “siloed” AV project.
3. The single-specialty VAR.
For the modern VAR, diversification is a must. The highly competitive pro AV landscape presents an opportunity for your company to become well-rounded, expanding your service offering as new trends and innovations come onto the scene.
For example, as digital signage has become increasingly popular in business settings, many pro AV VARs are finding success in adding it to their service offering. Or, you can branch out even further by including IT services, networking, physical security and other specialties to your business.
4. ‘Dumb’ devices.
It’s not enough for modern pro AV devices to simply output information. Customers today expect AV systems to be a bit more intelligent, with interactive features, customized content and more. As digital technology continues to become smarter, expect the era of “dumb” devices to gradually end. In their place will be pro AV systems that better understand the end user and their needs.
What other pro AV trends do you think are over—or on their way out? What do you see as the next big trend in the industry?