I sometimes digress down discussions of macroeconomics and other non-technology-related issues that affect our industry. I won’t belabor the point that any industry is at much at the mercy of larger economic trends as parochial tech trends. And I’ll point out that InfoComm International is increasingly conducting market research that seeks to clarify economic trends as well as technology trends.
Note InfoComm’s recently published October 2012 Economic Snapshot Survey:
The latest installment in a periodic survey that, according to InfoComm, “examines the overall ‘economic health’ of the AV industry and brings into focus the issues, factors and trends affecting business performance on an international scale.”
It wouldn’t be an economic survey without a lot of acronyms. Examining the IPI (InfoComm Performance Index), and the ICHI (InfoComm Company Health Index).
What does this mean? While the IPI is centered on how the respondents feel about their company’s overall performance, the ICHI is based on actual event/situation indicators.
But economics is as much an art as a science, and at the core of economic theory is the factoring in of “perceptions”– i.e. you can crunch all the econometric data you want, but consumer, business, and investor perceptions of how stable or predictable business climates are, are key to all economic analysis and forecasting. In other words, the fuzzy stuff. So the most interesting parts of InfoComm’s October 2012 Economic Snapshot Survey are the actual quotes in the sections marked “AV Provider Feedback” and “End-User Feedback”. These are anonymous quotes from providers and customers about key trends they’re dealing with.
An interesting comment from an end-user:
“We don't care about digital signage. We don't care about 3D. We don't care about giant touch panel tables. We care about professors who want to walk into a classroom and expect the A/V system to work 100% of the time. We're concerned that nothing we have installed will work with the paradigm shift we're seeing in computing towards consumer electronics. We already have people who want to walk into a classroom with an iPad and start presenting without plugging into anything. We're concerned that the A/V industry as a whole has their head stuck in the sand and will not have a solution that works for these situations for many years to come (let alone one that works 100% of the time). Everything I saw at
InfoComm was all fine and good but had almost no application in our academic environment…”
Ouch. OK, let’s not get too obsessed by one comment, but right there, you’ve got a lot of issues being revealed–at least for the education market. Hard to get that into an acronym.
But the report concludes:
“The most encouraging news in the October 2012 InfoComm International Economic Snapshot Survey is clearly the input from the end users. The waning of the IDI scores of the past three surveys has not only been halted, but the IDI forecast has reached a new high….”
So we’ve seeing conflicting trends out there. But the good news the market is growing and companies are healthy. Read between the lines for the good stuff.
Check out the report: