Many industry experts agree that unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technology is poised to become a cornerstone for value-added resellers (VARs) in the coming years. UCC is making significant gains in many verticals, and InfoComm International expects the trend to continue.
For VARs who have long offered professional audio/visual systems, UCC is a logical business addition. Your business is likely a natural fit for offering UCC, because the back-end work with cabling and networking is so similar to digital signage, pro AV and other areas.
With the UCC market going through a period of fast growth, most customers will need a knowledgeable VAR to help them find the best solution for their company. But first, you must understand the relationship between UCC and pro AV, and how the two technologies can benefit your business.
What is UCC, exactly?
Unified communications and collaboration are actually two different fields, but over the years they’ve been combined into one since they share so many similarities. Today, most VARs treat unified communications and collaboration as one cohesive branch of their business.
UCC devices and systems are designed to provide customers with real-time communication and collaboration opportunities. When working with UCC, you’ll likely use a wide range of technology, including chat, email, instant messaging, Active Directory, telephone systems, video conferencing systems, smartphone and tablet applications, desktop and data sharing, and more.
What is pro AV?
Pro AV, meanwhile, refers to any audio or visual system installed for commercial use. This could include lighting and sound devices, video conferencing, digital signage and other video screens, recording equipment, projector systems, speakers, building automation and any other device that has to do with AV.
How are UCC and Pro AV related?
As you can see, UCC and pro AV are fairly different technologies. So why are they used so interchangeably these days?
As both UCC and pro AV evolve and grow, the two once-separate fields are now experiencing a lot more integration and overlap than ever before. For example, if your customers require video conferencing and projector systems, they will probably also need to incorporate IP telephony systems, desktop and data sharing, or mobile capabilities. Of course, any enterprise-level collaboration solution must also include video cameras, digital displays, microphones and speakers.
Which should my business offer?
Ideally, you should offer both UCC and pro AV systems. Today’s end users are looking to partner with a VAR that can offer well-integrated, easy-to-use systems that work seamlessly together. Knowledge of both UCC and pro AV systems can help distinguish you as a better-rounded reseller.
For VARs who are already familiar with pro AV technology, UCC is a fantastic opportunity to generate new business. Reach out to your existing AV customers to gauge their interest in communication technology. With new customers, ensure that they’re aware of the breadth of solutions you offer. As the UCC market grows, you’ll see your bottom line grow along with it.
Where has your company seen the most success: in pro AV or in UCC? Do you tend to view the two technology groups separately or as one?