During these difficult times it has been easy for many of us to become disconnected with parts of the industry, relationships that we took for granted previously. That is especially true for the end user community. How many suppliers have been able to connect successfully with their clients, and more importantly potential clients, during the pandemic restrictions? And likewise, how many end users have successfully networked with their peers?
Although the AV User Groups previous operating model had been the hosting of city-based, in-person meetings and networking events where end users could peer-network and supplier sponsors could present to them, or network with them, the pandemic changed that.
However, the group has managed to keep operating and provide value to its end-user members and supplier/sponsors through the pandemic. Although that has been achieved through monthly webinars (and let’s face it: everyone is running webinars now) they have hit on a format that still provides value to both communities and helps to maintain those relationships.
Rather than running city-based events, they are running regional webinars (North America, U.K., and Asia). Although their North American membership is mostly made up of end users in New York and Silicon Valley, they have pockets of new members in Toronto (Canada), Austin, and Chicago. Because of this, regional webinars enable the group to reach more of its membership and therefore a larger audience.
Its webinars are much shorter than the format for its previous in-person meetings, and at least one of the presentations at each webinar is educational, or special interest. This makes the webinar sessions much more attractive to its end-user membership. They get to hear from a couple of suppliers who keep them appraised of their product developments, something else that’s been impacted by the pandemic—both by delays and a change of focus—as well as the special interest or educational session.
Recent special interest presentation examples have included AQ-AV’s AV9000 qualifications, the new WELL 2 building standard, an introduction to Li-Fi and the pending AVIXA “Mastering Audio Visual Service Management” courses that will hopefully be available early next year.
So, whether you are a North American supplier or end user, this group could be of value to you and help maintain those important relationships. If you are interested to know more you can reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through its website www.avusergroup.com where there are links to apply for free membership (for end users) or sponsorship (for all suppliers).
Owen Ellis is the chairman of the AV User Group, an independent non-profit organization that provides a forum for end users and technology managers to share information and experience and to promote the effective use of AV communications technology to maintain the skills and knowledge needed to implement AV projects and manage service provision.