Pro AV is one of the great adaptors: Every year, new innovations emerge, helping value-added resellers (VARs) attract new customers, break into a wider range of verticals and grow their business in exciting ways.
As far as big years go, 2015 will be no exception. The industry is moving beyond “traditional” pro AV systems—such as meeting rooms and projector systems—to also include highly advanced systems that include mobile capabilities, social media integration, interactive displays, big data and more.
It’s a very exciting time for the pro AV market, and now is the time to get up to speed on all the new innovation. Take a look at these eight big trends for 2015:
1. Interactivity everywhere.
By far, interactive devices will be the hottest trend of 2015. Consumers are increasingly comfortable with—and even reliant upon—interactivity in their day-to-day lives, including on their smart phones and tablets, at home, at work and while shopping.
For this reason, a growing number of your customers will likely be interested in implementing interactive systems. This includes the following:
- Digital signage that includes touchscreen capabilities or social media integration
- Touchscreen wayfinding kiosks
- Interactive whiteboards
- Mobile marketing platforms, such as near-field communication and iBeacons
- Multi-user video walls
These types of systems not only improve customer engagement and service; they also empower associates to perform their jobs more effectively, streamline operations and can even save your customers money in the long run.
2. Pro AV convergence with IT.
This is also a big one, because it has the potential to change the very nature of the pro AV industry. Many new pro AV systems run on your customers’ IT infrastructure in order to interoperate with other systems. This means that traditional pro AV VARs are being challenged to expand their product offering—and knowledge base—to include these more advanced devices, like interactive whiteboards and social media integration, which require an understanding of IT systems, such as switching and cable infrastructure.
If you primarily work with traditional pro AV systems, this is your opportunity to branch out. Get to know the basics of IT infrastructure, or find a qualified IT integrator to partner with on some of your more complicated projects.
3. Mobile, mobile, mobile.
Part of the big interactivity trend involves retailers, hospitality providers and other customers wanting to engage with end users through their mobile devices. Finally embracing the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, pro AV customers are looking to interact with users’ smart phones and tablets as much as possible.
For example, many corporations are encouraging employees to bring their own devices to work, and then enabling them to interact with digital signage and whiteboards, video conferencing and other pro AV systems. The same is true in education. In retail and hospitality, meanwhile, social media integration will be huge, enabling consumers to engage with digital signage and video walls through their FaceBook, Pinterest and Twitter feeds.
4. Big data gets bigger.
The growth of mobile marketing technology like NFC and iBeacons, as well as interactive devices such as touchscreens, gather an untold amount of information on each consumer. In the next several years, VARs and their customers will become better attuned to this “big data” and how to leverage it for marketing, advertising, store design, operations and more.
5. Large-format displays take over.
Video walls will get even bigger in 2015, as larger format screens continue to drop in price. Hospitality and retail customers will be especially open to these high-impact, super-sized displays, which will reach 75, 85 and even 95 inches.
6. Transparent displays go mainstream.
Previously, transparent displays were relegated to high-end stores and small-scale specialty displays. In 2015 though, the technology will have fallen in price enough for wider adoption. Expect many of your retail, airport, hospitality and even restaurant customers to start considering transparent displays for their own facilities.
7. Lampless projectors heat up.
Laser-based projectors will likely start outpacing traditional lamp devices during the next 12 months. Not only are lampless projectors more reliable—after all, there’s no lamp to overheat or break—they also provide more advanced capabilities, such as 4K resolution. For higher-end environments, like corporate offices and event venues, lampless will become the way to go.
What other trends do you expect to see in 2015? Are there any emerging trends that you think will fizzle out before the year is done?