Having held the number one spot on SCN's Top 50 list of AV Integrators for more years than any of us can remember, AVI-SPL tends to play in a league of their own in this industry. So when the company makes a big move, integrators tend to take notice.
Well, AVI-SPL just announced a significant international expansion, opening three new offices across Canada and opening a new London office as well.
Heading up European operations from the London office will be James Shanks as managing director, who expects the U.K. office to operate independently while benefiting from the company's global resources.
The move into Canada, adding offices in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, was made through the acquisition of selected assets from Duocom, an audio video and information technology firm headquartered in Montreal. These eastern Canada offices will be headed by Zoreen Abas, and will compliment AVI-SPL's existing Canadian operations in Vancouver and Calgary.
The big questions to ask when an expansion like this is announced is why there, and why now?
Like many in the industry, AVI-SPL is making much of its bread and butter these days on videoconferencing. In fact, in its release announcing this move, the company was referred to as "the world's leading video communications partner." 50 percent of all projects it completed in 2011 had a video component. That's out of 6,138 projects—very big numbers. AVI-SPL expected its services revenues to hit $60 million in 2012.
"AVI-SPL remains committed to developing a strategy and working through that strategy," said John Zettel, CEO. "When we developed our approach for video, we built a platform of services. But we also had to build the delivery arm for that platform. Expanding internationally is a continuation of our video strategy. This is a connected solution which brings enterprises and international expansion into play. Our expansion enables us to deliver complete video connection services to our clients."
With videoconferencing comes needed services, and when dealing with the globalized companies that AVI-SPL does, that means providing services outside the U.S. The company provides video communication and collaboration solutions for 86 percent of of the Fortune 100 and 71 percent of the Fortune 500.
Increasingly, companies of that size want consistency. They want the same control panel and GUI across the entire world. Obviously one office in the U.K. isn't expected to service the entire world. What it does signal is that AVI-SPL sees enough companies with offices across the pond that a full-fledged operation makes sense there.
"There’s this new connectivity to our solutions and a need to find the right delivery mechanism," continued Zettel. "We can’t ignore the trends we’re seeing in our industry in terms of what solutions customers are asking for. I think AVI-SPL has the best platform to execute their demands because of our size. The key to success is developing the platform of services and resources and then having the right footprint for delivery and access to customers."