As the pro AV market continues to grow and evolve, new innovations are impacting the industry every year. In 2015, many new devices and systems are going to continue to gradually edge the pro AV industry closer to the IT world.
Over the next 12 months and beyond, the convergence of pro AV and IT are expected to accelerate. The convergence represents both a challenge and an opportunity for those who work in AV. Let’s take a look at what this means for pro AV and digital signage value-added resellers (VARs) like you:
1. The driving force.
So why is pro AV technology converging with the IT world to begin with? Traditionally, pro AV technology consisted of fairly straightforward, stand-alone devices or systems, such as projectors, meetings rooms, speakers, monitors and basic digital signage. For VARs installing these types of pro AV systems, it was important to understand the individual technology—but not necessarily how it all worked together.
Today, much of pro AV is moving in a new direction entirely. Many of today’s customers are seeking systems that integrate with other technology and interact directly with end users and—by their very nature—are more complicated. Customers is nearly every vertical are requesting more advanced devices, like iBeacons and interactive touchscreens, that require knowledge of IT systems, such as switching, networking and cable infrastructure.
2. The challenge.
This pro AV and IT convergence is already pushing many traditional VARs a bit outside of their comfort zone. With these new advanced systems, each device must integrate seamlessly with all others and, in some cases, even with end users’ own BYOD technology. So your challenge is to understand how these systems integrate with all the other devices on a given network, while also staying as up-to-date as possible with emerging technologies.
3. The opportunity.
For VARs who are accustomed to working with more “traditional” AV systems, 2015 is your opportunity to learn something new, branch out into different verticals and positon yourself for success over the next several years. Pro AV and IT will only become more converged as time goes on. 2015 is your opportunity to become IT-savvy, whether it’s through online or in-person classes, in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Of course, new pro AV devices and innovations are emerging every year. What’s the best way to stay up to date with these advanced technologies?
First of all, familiarize yourself with those systems that are expected to really take hold in 2015. This includes interactive and multi-user digital signage, mobile marketing platforms (such as iBeacons and near-field communication), and any technology that enables social media integration and BYOD. Once you have these technologies under your belt, new innovations will be that much easier to grasp.
For additional support and learning opportunities, you might consider partnering with a technology distributor, which can help you to stay in-the-know on each new industry development. When faced with a particularly complicated project, look into working with an IT integrator on the back-end tasks.
How IT-savvy would you consider yourself? Do you and your coworkers plan on investing in additional IT training over the next year? Why or why not?