Unified communication and collaboration and professional audio/visual technologies can provide exciting business opportunities for value-added resellers (VARs) like you—and the possibilities are greater every year.
A growing number of businesses are investing in pro AV systems, and the UCC market is also keeping an impressive pace. TechTarget reports that 80 percent of respondents to a recent survey plan to implement at least some UCC in the next two years. Interestingly, 78 percent say they have dedicated budget to incorporate these technologies. For VARs, that means continued growth for the foreseeable future.
These days, VARs across the country are quickly adding UCC and pro AV systems to their product offering. These closely linked technologies open VARs up to potential customers in a variety of fields, including education, healthcare, business, entertainment, hospitality and more.
However, while UCC and pro AV have many similarities, they are still distinct in several ways. By fully understanding the differences between UCC and pro AV, you can help your customers achieve a solution that meets their needs—and their budget. Take a look at these core differences between the two technologies:
1. UCC is all about communication.
UCC technology has one overall goal: to provide real-time communication and collaboration. This can be achieved through instant messaging and chat, mobile apps, email, telephone systems, video conferencing, desktop and data sharing, and any other device or application that seamlessly connects two or more users.
2. Pro AV can actually serve many different roles.
On the other hand, pro AV isn’t necessarily about communication and collaboration—although it can be. Commercial AV systems include lighting and sound devices, digital signage, projection screens, video conferencing equipment, speakers, building automation and more.
AV technology is often used for communicating with customers and employees, for streamlining business processes or even for providing entertainment. In fact, the versatility of pro AV is one of the reasons the market is really taking off.
3. The audiences for UCC and pro AV are usually very different.
Most often, UCC systems have an internal audience. For example, a corporation might use desktop and data sharing to communicate with its branch locations. Or, coworkers might leverage mobile chat apps during their business trips to keep the flow of communication going.
On the other hand, the audience for pro AV technology might be internal (such as informative signage for employees, remote coworkers or branch managers) or external (such as video conferencing and advertising signage for customers, business partners, students or potential employees).
4. Most—but not all—of your UCC and pro AV customers will not overlap.
UCC is experiencing a boom in the corporate world, while pro AV is being used more and more in retail, hospitality and entertainment. While most of your UCC and pro AV customers will be mutually exclusive, occasionally you’ll experience a bit of an overlap.
Some of your video conferencing customers will also need IP telephony, desktop and data sharing, and integration with mobile devices and apps. On the other hand, many enterprise businesses that invest in communication and collaboration technology will also require video cameras, digital displays, microphones and speakers. These two distinct technologies have so much to offer your customers; be sure to fully understand their current and future needs, and you’ll be well positioned to provide them with exactly what they need.
How much overlap have you encountered between your pro AV and UCC customers? Do you find that one easily leads to another, or do they remain distinct?