It’s only been a couple of months since the news of Electrograph’s demise, but anyone in this industry who thought that news on the eve of InfoComm portended the end of the strong distributor model, should think again.
Sam Taylor said it best, when the Electrograph news broke: “There is still is the need”, said Taylor when the Electrograph news was delivered in early June, “ for a commercial AV distributor that provides education, that works with dealers to add value, back up the product, and provided the kind of efficient distribution that often can not be had with a manufacturer direct model.”
Indeed, and the past several week has seen news from at least two major distributors who are doing just that. The first is Almo, led by Sam Taylor (who wasted little time pondering the implications of the Electrograph unraveling). Almo is already producing education events, the first of which is the “St. Louis Area Expo with InfoComm RU’s”, to be held Sept. 18th. (Register at www.almo.com/stlouisexpo, or call 888.420.2566.) According to Almo, the event will help professionals, “gain an insider’s perspective on the hottest products and even hotter ways to make more money and leave your competition behind,” and “learn new technology with manufacturing training sessions on LED, digital signage software and more, “ and “Have one-on-one time with top manufacturers,” and last but not least “with breakfast, lunch and dinner included…”
The St. Louis event will feature some familiar faces on the education front:
• Gary Kayye: 5 Things You Need to Do to Thrive in 2009
• Alan Brawn: Digital Signage–The Future is Now
• Rise VisionWeb-Based Content Management Solutions for Cost-Effective Digital Signage, presented by Ryan Cahoy, Product Manager, Rise Vision
• SharpSharp LED Technology: The Basics and Beyond, presented by Scott Roche, Senior Field Marketing Manager, Sharp USA
Also on the Distributor front, Tech Data Corporation, a leading IT products distributor that is increasingly in the “AV” space, is today opening its 25,000-square-foot West Coast integration center co-located in the company's Fontana, California logistics center.
According to Tech Data, “the new facility enhances Tech Data's TDIntegration Services, enabling IT resellers to more efficiently and cost-effectively deploy custom-configured solutions anywhere in the country. Coupled with its ISO 9001:2000 certified Swedesboro, N.J., integration center, Tech Data is the only distributor to offer resellers access to state-of-the-art configuration facilities on both coasts.”…. (hints of the old Electrograph/Activelight merger?)
"Our exclusive bi-coastal configuration capabilities enable Tech Data to provide resellers with access to the channel's most optimized distribution network for custom-configured solutions,” said Tech Data Vice President, Government, Technical and Integration Services Barb Miller. "Many resellers have customers with branch offices and remote workers spread across the country with strict service level agreements they have to meet regardless of location. Now, Tech Data can optimally route configuration orders to either coast, helping resellers meet their SLA commitments, while cutting costs and saving time.”
Through both facilities, resellers can leverage Tech Data's TDIntegration Services team “to efficiently preload and configure one or hundreds of systems, notebooks, servers, routers and other devices with hardware inserts and software applications that meet specific end-user requirements. This enables resellers to provide their customers with built-to-order solutions without holding product inventory, tasking their employees with time-consuming builds or reshipping hardware.” All that sounds like pure IT speak, but don’t underestimate the role of IT pros in the AV market, including digital signage (Cisco is entering the digital signage market in a pretty big way, including some very high level jobs in probably the two most advanced new stadium in the world– the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, and the new Yankees Stadium. And the official “Cisco Advanced Integration Services” is part of Tech Data’s offerings.
Tech Data (www.techdata.com) is offering tours of the new facility. Resellers can contact their Tech Data sales representative at 800-237-8931.