For me, a large part of being a Systems Integrator is knowing the solutions that you have at your disposal. All the time, customers are looking for a unique audio/video “thing”. This could be a solution to a problem, an upgrade or something that sets them apart from their competition.
It’s my job to know what equipment or combination of equipment they need to make this “thing”. I don’t have to engineer their solution on the spot, but when I’m in a meeting and the customer says “I want to do X”, I feel the proper Systems Integrator response is to be able to reply with at least an initial idea of how to use technology to fulfill their need. “I’ve seen a solution like that and I’ll get back to you with a recommendation.”
Wandering around the Trade Show floor exposes you to products that you might not recommend to a customer for weeks, months or even years. I don’t need to dig deep into functionality or programming because 4 months from now I won’t remember any of that. I just need to know the solutions that exist and have enough basic information stored in my memory to perform a quick Google search and follow up with an e-mailed cut sheet.
So, I encourage you to spend time walking the fringes of the Trade Show floor, looking at products that you don’t necessarily need today. Don’t fall into the trap of only visiting vendors that you are already familiar with and don’t let a salesperson monopolize your time and only expose you to the products they want you to see. Your normal vendors will visit your office any time of the year, the Trade Show floor is full of companies that you will likely only see at Infocomm. Do a little wandering, talk to some different people, use your imagination and you will pick up the tools to be an invaluable resource to your customers in the future.
Jimi Gonzalez is manager of the Technology Group at ION Electric, LLC in Pompano Beach, FL.