Like many similar technology fields, the pro AV market is rapidly growing and evolving. As a result, it can be a challenge for value-added resellers (VARs) to know where to begin—especially when you’re new to the industry.
To avoid some of the more common missteps, it’s important to become familiar with some of the unique ins and outs of the pro AV market. For starters, consider these five things when searching for AV systems:
1. Be prepared to get “advanced.”
The pro AV market is rapidly converging with the IT world, and that convergence will only accelerate in the next few years. More and more end users are looking for their pro AV systems to seamlessly integrate with the rest of their IT infrastructure.
Be prepared to look beyond the typical pro AV devices, such as digital signage, projector systems and whole-house audio. Today, customers are looking for more advanced systems—such as near-field communication (NFC), video walls and interactive touchscreens—that will require you to learn IT switching, cabling infrastructure and more.
As InfoComm International put it, “If you don’t know about IT networks or can’t discuss them in relation to your solutions, then you can’t expect CIOs, CTOs and IT managers to let your AV systems run on them. Simple as that.”
2. Consider Adopting Standards
Unlike other industries—such as IT and security—pro AV doesn’t operate under industry-wide standards. With thousands of VARs operating around the world, working toward open, interoperable standards could one day transform the industry.
For now, you might consider implementing standards in your own business as one of your best practices. By adhering to standards such as those published by InfoComm (and accredited by the American National Standards Institute), you can show your customers that you embrace industry-leading best practices. And, as your customers add new systems in the future, they can rest assured that their legacy devices will interoperate seamlessly with each new product.
3. There is more to AV than just products.
To diversify your pro AV offering and create more recurring revenue, you might consider ramping up the services part of your business. By offering ongoing service and support, end user training and even AV software and content packages, you have an opportunity to extend the VAR-customer relationship beyond the installation and for years to come.
4. Interactivity is the wave of the future.
Of course, interactive pro AV technology has already taken several industries by storm—namely, retail and hospitality. But over the next few years, interactivity will become increasingly popular as consumers become more familiar with touchscreens, NRF, iBeacons, social media integration and more.
As more millennials enter the workforce and gain more buying power, a growing number of industries are going to turn toward interactive (and mobile) technology. Now is the time for you and your business to become comfortable with interactive—but be sure to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends and innovations.
5. You don’t have to go it alone.
The pro AV industry is growing by leaps and bounds, as new manufacturers, products and innovations enter the fray every year. To stay up-to-date and knowledgeable about what customers want, consider partnering with a technology distributor, such as Ingram Micro, which can help establish your business in the pro AV space. Look for a partner that has years of experience with pro AV and works with best-in-class manufacturers.
What other lessons have you learned when searching for AV systems? What would you say is the biggest challenge facing VARs that work in the pro AV space?