Against a backdrop of anxious end customers and lengthening sales cycles, this year’s InfoComm Manufacturers’ Forum had a simple mission: to articulate new strategies for continued growth. At the Forum Tuesday, moderator Brad Grimes, editor of Pro AV magazine, began by asking his panel what steps integrators and other professionals need to take to survive the recession with their margins intact.
“Know your verticals” was the rallying cry from Jeff Porter, executive VP, Scala. Porter acknowledged his company was “fortunate to have so many customers in so many different areas...so if automotive is down, we can sell into other areas such as healthcare and education.” The key, Porter stressed, was to understand the customer’s needs better than anyone else.
Joseph Sigrist, senior VP and general manager of Polycom’s Video Solutions Division, emphasized the need to engage with the people who really matter within the enterprises that use AV. “You may start with the facilities people and that’s OK,” said Sigrist, “then talk to IT and you’re a step farther on, because these are the people running the network. But the ones who count are the enterprise owners, because they’re the people doing the ROI calculation.”
Manufacturers are also recognizing the need to develop more affordable products, and, in this respect, the trend toward “green AV” is acting as a timely driver. “We are building screens that deliver the same brightness using fewer components,” revealed Pierre Richer, president and COO, NEC Display Solutions Americas. “That will reduce their energy consumption but it will also make them cheaper, so it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Last but not least, don’t let the economy dupe us into forgetting the basics that lie at the heart of every successful business. “Your goal is to survive, but how do you thrive?” asked Tom Hansen, VP, Communications Systems Division, Bosch Security Systems. “You need to continue to invest in marketing, in engineering, in training and in education.”
That’s the perfect way to sum up a Show that is about all those things—and more. Showcase. Discover the latest conferencing and collaboration systems in action and then decide which ones make the most sense for your business. Stop by today to check out this hot new technology firsthand and enter to win a Sony PS3.
The System Programming & GUI Design Gallery is in its fourth year at InfoComm. This innovative and inviting touchpanel demonstration provides a unique opportunity to look into the complex world of system programming and design. The participants are all Crestron Authorized Independent Programmers (CAIPs) and are also members of InfoComm International’s Independent Programmers Council. It’s a great opportunity to showcase work that has been designed for the full range of AV integrated systems with an emphasis on ease of use for the end user.