Along with our annual Top 50 Systems Integrators feature, we polled a selection of leading firms on industry topics.

SCN: What vertical markets and/or technologies exhibited the most growth for you in 2017?

Philip Giffard, president, Solotech
The greatest challenge, for us, is to remain a system integrator of choice through growth, despite the rapid evolution of technologies and markets. Because we also have a rental division, we often have access to the latest and greatest product ahead of time, which enables us to train our staff faster than our competitors. This, reinventing ourselves, being flexible, and staying on the lookout for novelties with choice partners, has helped us in meeting this challenge successfully.

Bin Guan, chief technology officer, Yorktel
Healthcare has shown the greatest realized potential for Yorktel. There are unfulfilled needs for video applications in the telehealth and telemedicine space that other vendors haven’t been able to effectively meet, and Yorktel found a way to do it. This year our bookings in healthcare alone grew 30 percent year over year, and 2018 is expected to be even more of an exciting year. Pharmaceutical and bio-life sciences are also showing tremendous growth.

Dave Berlin, president, VCA
We saw a lot of growth in higher ed where the active learning movement is really maturing. It’s a conversation we’re having with most every higher ed client now, instead of just a few of the more progressive ones. Mass transit exhibited noteworthy growth this year, too. For technologies, we saw the demand for large-format direct-view LEDs grow tremendously, along with most every application for digital signage. IP workflow adoption in the AV space, as well as data collection and analytics were other areas of growth.

Peter Charland, SVP global managed services, HB Communications
Demand for deployment of standardized collaboration platforms—as opposed to custom conference rooms—shows high growth, along with growing demand for HB to deliver and support these systems globally. We are seeing significant growth in global deployments of solutions and services.

Rhonda Wingate, VP of visual collaboration sales, Carousel Industries
The vertical markets we’ve seen the most growth in during the past year have been healthcare and financial services. Healthcare applications are centered on telemedicine solutions, a majority of them requiring EPIC software integration. In the financial services market, the primary application is video banking. With regard to specific technologies, we’ve seen tremendous interest and growth in interactive touch displays, video walls in larger conference rooms, divisible training rooms, digital signage, and all-in-one solutions for smaller spaces such as Cisco Spark Boards and room kits as well as Skype for Business room solutions.

Kelly McCarthy, president, Genesis Integration
We saw significant growth in fine pixel-pitch LED video walls. We can attribute this to a massive influx of new-build school projects and being able to offer the technology at a more affordable price point for clients. Another area we saw growth in is our cloud-based videoconferencing space. We are certainly noticing our clients taking advantage of this service as it provides them the flexibility to collaborate as a team while keeping travel costs down. Cloud-based videoconferencing is becoming a hot commodity in the market, especially for those midsize businesses where a lot of their teams are working remotely.

Cheryl Cox, director, marketing and communications, Whitlock
Our largest growth in 2017 has been in the financial and high-tech verticals for enterprise collaboration solutions, as well as experience and innovation centers.

Rod Andrewson, chief technology officer and manager of support and quality assurance, CCS Presentation Systems
Digital audio upgrades using the Dante standard soared with products introduced by all of the DSP, microphone, and network manufacturers. Digital audio upgrades are on track to make the same impact in 2018. Video-over-IP solutions, although not brand new to the industry, exploded in the video distribution market. Many customers needing to abandon analog and original category cable, non-HDBaseT solutions jumped past HDBaseT solutions and directly to video-over-IP upgrades, causing big increases in sales for the manufacturers of the encoder/decoders and network switch manufacturers. The projector/screen market showed a bounce back with improvements in ambient light-rejecting screen technologies from all the screen manufacturers.

Robert T. Gag, CEO, Tierney
Tierney continued to see significant growth in the K-12 market with the continued emergence of the interactive flat-panel and virtual and augmented reality solutions. In addition, substantial year-over-year growth took place in the retail sector with video wall installations and in the higher ed space with collaboration and lecture hall refreshes. Every Tierney market segment grew in the digital signage category, as clients continue to invest in improved internal communications.

Chris Laing, VP of operations, SKC Communications
For us, the biggest growth segments were LED video walls and huddle rooms.