Stepping Ahead - AvNetwork.com

Stepping Ahead

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NAME: John Kaloukian
COMPANY: Sony Electronics
TITLE: Director, Professional Display Group

BACKGROUND: His 13 years of experience in the electronics business has taught him to always expect the unexpected, be flexible, listen to the customer, and be prepared to respond quickly in order to do what's needed for success.

THE CHALLENGE: There are so many product options available today, and with the display being the final output, it also becomes the most critical piece.

SCN: What does your position entail?

John Kaloukian: I'm responsible for all sales and marketing activities related to Sony's LCD business projectors, large-venue SXRD 4K projectors, professional monitors for video production, and large-format LCD and plasma public displays for digital signage and hospitality applications. I've been in this position for three years, and with Sony for eight years overall. The professional display group at Sony represents a multi-million dollar annual business in North American sales alone, and it's showing no signs of slowing-not only in those product categories, but in new market segments like hospitality, government, education, and more.

SCN: How has your background prepared you for your new role?

JK: There's a great deal of change occurring in technology today, particularly within the professional display market. My prior experiences with Sony and with other companies has taught me to always expect the unexpected, be flexible, listen to the customer, and be prepared to respond quickly in order to do what's needed for success.

I also bring a unique perspective from having worked in a variety of product and market areas. I've had extensive sales and marketing experience with visual imaging and security products, as well as medical cameras and monitors. While these areas are very different and need to be approached in a unique manner, the one common thread in all is that to succeed in each, you need a willingness to do what's needed and the flexibility and adaptability to respond to the market.

SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals?

JK: Both goals are essentially the same: to continue to expand the opportunities for professional display products in a broad range of markets. So far, we seem to be on the right track. That being said, the key to success includes a continued emphasis on listening to the customer and, of course, being an innovator of technology.

SCN: What is the greatest challenge that you face?

JK: The market is rapidly changing, and we need to be able to change with it. High-definition technology has literally re-defined the concept of display and presentation. It's more than just a matter of choosing an HD display. You have to consider things like what type of content are you feeding to that display, how is that content being acquired and produced?

We are always working to educate our customers, and even our own people, on the newest technologies in order to help the end-user choose the right display system and the right product for their individual needs. There are so many product options available today, and with the display being the final output, it also becomes the most critical piece.

SCN: Where do you see the display market heading?

JK: More and more products will be HD. The digital signage market in particular is exploding. Most segments in digital signage are experiencing rapid growth. Digital signage is becoming more commonly used by small businesses, which rely on easy-to-use technologies. With digital signage equipment prices reaching an affordable level, businesses are able to now deploy equipment where the content can easily and quickly be changed at will. Our systems' HD capabilities make them especially attractive for entertainment or advertising.

One of the most significant developments in recent years has been the introduction of fully integrated signage players, designed for both ease of use and for HD capability. By integrating players into the display itself, there are fewer problems and costs involved with installation. Less cabling is needed and the overall installation is much cleaner and easier.

SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from your group?

JK: Whether it's new LCD business projectors with higher levels of brightness, better contrast, and even widescreen capabilities; to a new LCD display in a dust- and tamper-resistant aluminum housing, our goal is to push the limits of our design and developmental abilities to not only meet but exceed customers' expectations.

SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from what you have to offer?

JK: They need to keep themselves as flexible and open to change as we are, because for systems integrators and for manufacturers like us, the end goal is the same: meeting customer demand. Stay aware of new trends in technology, do ongoing training, listen to what people are saying and asking for and try to stay one step ahead of the market.

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