2016 has been a big year for the pro AV market, with strong investments in nearly every vertical. As usual, there was also plenty of news coming out of our dynamic industry, with innovations and trends that will likely impact your solution-provider business for years to come.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest AV news items of the year, and what they could mean for you:
Growth of AV as a service
This year saw increased interest in pro AV “as a service.” With growing reliance on cloud capabilities for functions such as streaming video and audio, enabling video-conferencing and remotely storing data, it’s a natural fit for solution providers to begin offering an all-in-one approach that includes all parts of an AV solution. In 2016, many started marketing both AV equipment and a range of cloud-based services, opening up new potential for both solution providers and their customers.
For solution providers, the growth of AV as a service offers several potential benefits. This is an opportunity to increase your recurring monthly revenue by charging for various services in a single package. These ongoing, all-in-one offerings also help you stay in front of your customer more regularly, which creates longer-term relationships.
The IoT hits the mainstream
Research indicates that there will be more than 200 billion Internet-enabled devices by 2020. The Internet of Things (IoT) is now impacting every corner of our day-to-day lives, including commercial AV technologies.
For your customers, network-enabled devices, such as video walls and IoT-infused meeting spaces, offer the chance to collect valuable data on end users and improve communication among employees and other audiences. For example, a digital display could gather information such as a user’s dwell time, gender and approximate age. Or an IoT-enabled conference room at a busy corporation might feature cloud-based scheduling and automated environmental controls to streamline appointment planning and save on heating, air conditioning and lighting. As AV technology becomes increasingly intelligent thanks to the IoT, the applications and capabilities will only continue to grow.
Cyber security concerns continue to grow
As anyone in the technology world knows, cyber security attacks are growing at an alarming rate every year. And as pro AV systems become increasingly connected, solution providers and their customers need to be aware of the potential dangers of IoT-enabled systems, such as video-conferencing and networked building controls. To be on the safe side, any device that is connected to your customer’s network should be viewed as an opportunity for a cyber attack.
Of course, there are countless methods for guarding against hackers. It doesn’t take much for solution providers to begin incorporating such steps into their system design and installation. Perhaps most important, take the time to educate your customers on their potential cyber vulnerabilities and train them on how to protect themselves.
Virtual reality is on the verge
Research indicates that virtual reality (VR) is positioned to grow from a $1.37 billion market in 2016 to nearly $34 billion in 2022. That’s exciting news for solution providers, which one day could offer VR as part of a wide range of AV applications, such as in museums and classrooms, as part of events or theme parks or even in retail locations.
Unfortunately, research also indicates that many consumers aren’t yet aware of VR technology and its exciting possibilities. For the time being, we expect to see VR technology continue to crop up in places like amusement parks and specialty retailers. But as consumers see the devices more frequently—both in the media and in person—expect your customers to begin demanding them for a wide range of uses.
What other AV news stood out in your mind this year? How do you expect it to impact your business in the coming months?