The pro AV industry is experiencing a period of rapid growth, with the global market expected to reach $116 billion by 2016, according to InfoComm International’s 2014 Market Definition and Strategy Study. As pro AV expands, new value-added resellers (VARs) are entering the arena every year. With diverse technology skills and expertise, VARs like you are perfect for the pro AV world.
Of course, entering a new market always requires a bit of a learning curve. Luckily, many of the devices and back-end techniques are the same for pro AV and other systems, such as computing, audio and security. So getting started will be relatively easy; it’s just a matter of familiarizing yourself with some of the pro AV-specific technologies.
For starters, here are seven key pro AV terms that you should know:
1. IT convergence.
Pro AV and IT have long been trending toward each other, and now full convergence is happening. Now that many pro AV systems are IT-integrated—including video conferencing, digital signage and mobile capabilities—new features are within reach for customers in nearly every vertical. Think big data harvesting, BYOD integration, interactivity, desktop sharing and more.
For the pro AV VAR, that means a whole new world of exciting new capabilities to share with your customers.
4K displays are a big topic in the AV industry, as they currently provide the best resolution out there. However, the prices have yet to reach “mainstream” levels, so 4K might not truly hit the big time until 2016 or later. In the meantime, keep 4K in mind for your highest-profile projects, in larger event and entertainment venues, and for lampless projection customers.
3. Video walls.
Sure, this is a basic one, but it bears mentioning. Video walls are one of the hottest trends in digital signage today, since display prices keep falling and capabilities continue to evolve.
Get ahead of your fellow pro AV VARs by establishing yourself as a video wall expert. To get a few projects under your belt, consider offering a reduced rate to your first several customers.
2015 is expected to be the year of interactive digital signage, so be prepared. As display prices fall and capabilities improve, interactive kiosks, video walls and digital signs are becoming accessible to more customers. Touchscreen, multi-user screens, gesture-recognition and social-media integration features are especially hot right now in retail, hospitality and events.
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is here to stay, and today it’s being integrated with pro AV systems more than ever before. Be on the lookout for customers who want to enable their employees and other end users to use their own mobile devices when working, shopping, communicating and more, whether it’s through email, phone calls, video conferencing, social media integration or something entirely new.
This is one of the biggest trends in digital signage, and experts agree that 2015 will be the year where larger-scale transparent displays become increasingly popular. Expect growing requests for transparent displays in environments such as airports, malls and retail shops, museums, universities and healthcare facilities.
7. Continuous presence.
A growing number of companies are seeking out this capability, since it helps the various people on a teleconference communicate even better. Continuous presence allows each meeting participant to appear on the screen at once, just like panels of experts appear together on TV. The result is more natural “face-to-face” communication, even among a group of people.
What other key terms would you add to this list? Would you agree that getting started in pro AV has less of a learning curve for experienced VARs?