Today’s pro AV industry is much different from the one of only 10 years ago. While the technology was once a bit of a luxury, now AV systems and digital signage are a key component in a wide variety of environments, from retail shops, universities, and public buildings to hotels, restaurants, and even healthcare facilities.
As AV has become increasingly popular in a range of verticals, it has started to become more ingrained in the overall design of a space. Today, value-added resellers (VARs) and their customers are thoughtfully incorporating AV technology into the look and feel of a room—rather than just adding a screen or a speaker where it’s needed most. Many VARs are taking this trend further by fully integrating AV technology into decor—a movement known as “techorating.”
Techorating is a concept that combines the worlds of technology and decor, specifically integrated display technologies, such as digital signage, whole-house audio, and projection systems, with the overall decorative theme of a room or building. The term was coined in 2008 by Doug Wilson, an interior designer who worked with LG Electronics in order to explore the best ways to integrate modern technology into a home’s decor.
Examples of techorating are already all around us. Picture a high-end hotel, with large-scale digital signage installations throughout its lobby and entertainment areas. These displays are a key part of the style and decor of such a space, adding to the ambiance with unique animation, video, and movement or with work from digital artists. Meanwhile, music complements each display, completing the overall feel of the brand.
At its core, techorating is still the communication of information—whether it’s a message relayed through video and audio content or a specific mood that is created using lights and music. Through “techoration,” the VAR helps ensure that a pro AV or digital signage installation not only serves a key communication function, but also acts as a decorative part of the environment, adding to and enhancing its look and feel. In many applications, taking a techorating approach can even improve the effectiveness of the AV technology, because it draws the viewer in for an enhanced entertainment experience.
As techorating becomes increasingly popular, interactivity has emerged as a key component of these style-savvy installations. Because many consumers naturally gravitate toward interactive technology, it’s wise for VARs and their clients to consider ways in which to leverage it for any new installation. In a techorated environment, interactive screens can enable the end user to connect to the experience even further, using a touchscreen or gesture-recognition interface, social media integration, and other capabilities.
Techorating and Your Business
Techorating holds exciting potential for any VAR’s business. By welcoming this approach into your own AV designs, you have the potential to gain new customers and achieve higher sales than before, all while providing highly effective and deeply immersive AV environments.
Consider this: A high-end hotel like the one mentioned above has a budget for both technology and for decor. By incorporating technology in a way that is design-centric, you have the potential to tap into a client’s technology and decor budget, engage stakeholders from each department, and, in the end, create a “stickier” customer over time.
Now is the time to begin incorporating techorating into the early phases of your design process. Consider the room or facility as a whole; think about design, brand image, and user experience. You might even begin establishing partnerships with interior designers in order to position your company as a leader in techoration. Before long, you’ll start thinking of AV technology and decor as one and the same for many environments.
How familiar are you with the techorating trend in AV? Have you implemented this approach into your product offering, or do you plan to?