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SCN and SYMCO Partner on IT User Panel Discussion

What questions remain unanswered as the AV purchasing power structure of the C suite continues its shift toward the information and technology offices? We’re learning the language, we’re getting the networked products, but what more do we need to keep the conversation going between AV and IT?

We need to get past the language and the products, leave those areas of expertise to their respective parties, and speak to a higher level of integration. It’s not just about sharing a network, it’s about productivity, ease of use, and making everyone look good in front of their boss.

AV or IT, we all know about “pain points” like misbegotten aspect ratios on flat panel screens, the blue screen of death on digital signage displays, and those terrible built-in speakers that drain the life out of a presentation or videoconference. It’s these little bits of perceptive finesse and the larger implications of effective unified communications, signal management, archiving, and streaming that are too often overlooked in conversations about data rates. But today it’s not just the AV side of the dialogue that insists there is a better quality of experience out there. More and more it’s looking like IT needs AV just as much as AV needs IT to complete the communications picture.

That’s definitely the vibe developing around SYMCO’s Regional Technology Showcase events this spring. Set for March 25 in Fairfax, VA and March 27 in King of Prussia, PA, these day-long education, training, and networking events will offer InfoComm CTS RU accredited courses, direct connections with manufacturers, and a special new Technology User Panel Discussion co-hosted by SCN.

Since 2003, SYMCO has opened its Regional Technology Showcase events to all integrators, VARs, consultants, and technology users who are looking for technical and business information to move their business forward. “We were the first to produce these types of events in the Northeast,” noted Frank Culotta, president of SYMCO. “We started by simply offering our customers the chance to see the newest, leading technologies—and take some Infocomm CTS RU accredited classes—right in their local area. Over the years, many rep firms and distributors have followed with similar events, so we have looked to evolve and add new value to our Showcases via new and insightful seminars and panel discussions, and via strategic partnerships, like the one we’ve formed this year with SCN.”

In an effort to reveal more about the priorities and partnership objectives of CIOs and CTOs, I’ll be moderating a discussion with IT representatives from the healthcare, corporate, higher education, and government spaces at each SYMCO event. The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A, and topics will focus on technologies that today's customers are using and why, and what they are looking for in the future, not only in terms of products, but in partners such as AV integration and design firms.

The SCN Technology User Panel Discussion is one of three new additions to the SYMCO events this year. This session will be immediately followed by another new component to the Showcases, a Networking and Cocktail Reception hosted by InfoComm.

Also new on the SYMCO docket is a CTS RU accredited Advanced Sales Course that Culotta said is “designed to help already accomplished industry sales people locate, identify, understand, and appeal to today's customers. Taught by industry veteran and Consultant, Bill Sharer, it will focus not only on who today's decision makers and purchasers are, but also on how to approach and appeal to them with what they are looking for in information, product, services, and partnership.”

On the technology side, course offerings also have an IT bent. “The network-based solution classes are by far the most popular,” Culotta said. “Being focused heavily on network-centric solutions, Biamp and SVSI have always had the busiest classes, usually filled to capacity, with 100-plus people. We definitely expect another record setting year for them.”

SYMCO has strong pre-registration numbers for the spring Showcases in the Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA areas, and record-breaking numbers are expected there and at the fall events in New York City and Boston, reflecting a boom in Northeast business.

“By almost all accounts business has come back quite strongly across our region, since it's height five-plus years ago,” Culotta noted. “But by those same accounts, it has come back very differently. There are new customers, new decision makers, new solutions providers and integrators, new solutions designers, new technologies, new services, and new needs. Change is a necessity and it seems that everyone we talk with, at every level of management and operations is searching for valuable insights into how to position their company, and themselves, with regard to being valuable to the new customers and decision makers. Our primary goal with the Showcases is provide as much insight in as many of these areas as we can, and the response over the years—and especially this year—seems to indicate that we are on the right track.”

SYMCO Technology Showcase & Seminars Spring 2014 Event Details:

Washington DC
March 25, 2014
The Waterford
12025 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway
Fairfax, VA 22033

March 27, 2014
Crown Plaza Valley Forge
260 Mall Boulevard
King of Prussia, PA 19406

Kirsten Nelson is a freelance content producer who translates the expertise and passion of technologists into the vernacular of an audience curious about their creations. Nelson has written about audio and video technology in all its permutations for almost 20 years; she was the editor of SCN for 17 years. Her experience in the commercial AV and acoustics design and integration market has also led her to develop presentation programs and events for AVIXA and SCN, deliver keynote speeches, and moderate and participate in panel discussions. In addition to technology, she also writes about motorcycles—she is a MotoGP super fan.