Selecting pro AV systems for different vertical markets may seem daunting at first, but it doesn't have to be if you take a solution-first approach.
This means that value-added resellers (VARs) should have thorough discussions with their customers about who their end users are, the solution that pro AV is expected to provide, and what the project budget is.
VARs should note that although vertical markets use audiovisual equipment for different communication purposes, there's often significant overlap in the types of hardware deployed.
Another consideration for VARs is content delivery. Will content be cloud-based or sourced from a local media player? Does the content need to be archived? If so, in what format?
VARs that commit to asking these critical questions during the initial phases of a project will find the pro AV selection process to be much smoother no matter what the vertical market.
Let's look at the application of audiovisual systems across several verticals and how that might affect your selection process.
The retail vertical is perhaps the most forward-looking user of pro AV systems simply because it needs to find new ways of vying for customers’ attention in an increasingly crowded marketing landscape.
Brick-and-mortar retailers rely heavily on digital signage in order to engage their customers. VARs should focus on selecting turnkey, interactive displays in a variety of sizes to be used as end caps, kiosks, shelf-edge displays, and welcome boards.
Retailers may also request that VARs choose turnkey, interactive digital signage systems that are NFC-capable (near-field communication) in order to provide custom content like coupons to customer mobile phones.
Another vertical-specific request that VARs may field (mostly from fashion retailers) is the request for a projection-mapping system.
These relatively new pro AV systems can project a designer's entire fashion line directly onto a mannequin. The benefit of these systems is that they expose customers to an entire clothing line without store employees having to change the mannequin(s).
Some retailers may even request event staging equipment for events like in-store fashion shows or product giveaways. In these instances, expect to source complete packages that include sound amplification systems, moving lights, and platform staging.
While retail may find some of the more creative uses for pro AV systems, the corporate vertical is by far the largest user in terms of pro AV consumption and growth.
Corporate is also the largest individual customer segment?representing 30% of the global pro AV market?and is projected to grow 13% globally over the next two years.
Since enterprise customers have been among the earliest adopters of pro AV technology, VARs should expect requests for scalable, networked solutions to be used for everything from boardrooms to employee cafeterias.
The corporate vertical will be one of the more challenging in that VARs will be tasked with providing sophisticated, fully IT-integrated video- and audio-conferencing systems utilizing the latest in video display, audio, lighting, and projection technology.
With the convergence of pro AV and IT nearly a done deal, VARs should expect to be well-versed in the network capabilities of the systems that they recommend going forward.
As the economy improves and more hotels pop up, VARs can expect increased demand for video walls and interactive digital signage to be used for everything from hotel check-in to wayfinding to mobile marketing.
This is driven largely by guest expectations, which are higher than ever before. Guests have the latest technology in their homes and at work, and the hospitality segment will likely continue to invest in pro AV in order to deliver exceptional experiences.
New hotel development, led largely by upscale properties, will give VARs the opportunity to offer the latest digital signage, projection, audio conferencing, lighting and screen technology as these properties vie for a larger share of the meeting-industry pie.
Spending on pro AV in the healthcare vertical is largely focused on the corporate side of the market (conference rooms, boardrooms, training rooms, lobbies, digital signage, and wayfinding) and, to a lesser extent, patient-facing technologies like telemedicine.
For VARs, this means specifying everything from digital signage and wireless technologies to video conferencing and tablets that store electronic health records.
In addition to digital pro AV, VARs may be asked to provide acoustical consulting to reduce noise and vibrations?an environmental stress-reducer for patients and healthcare workers alike.
What pro AV systems requests have your customers been making in various marketing verticals lately? Have you experienced any crossover in the types of equipment being requested?