In our Coping with COVID-19 series, AVNetwork is interviewing manufacturers to discover how they’re handling the COVID-19 crisis and how the pandemic has impacted their businesses.
Paul Harris, founder and CEO of Aurora Multimedia, discusses the company’s response to COVID-19.
AVN: Have you pivoted your business strategy in response to COVID-19? If so, how?
PAUL HARRIS: Yes. We created products that would help in a time of need to make a difference while helping our industry. In doing so we created a new market pivot for Thermal Temperature Tablets that will assist in quickly checking human temperatures in any location.
To make certain our dealers were protected, we made certain to keep the new products in the integration channel and to add features so it would not be just a box sale, but a true integrated solution. This will help for the immediate box sales and the follow up installation and integration, thus filling their pipeline for when we can go back into the field.
AVN: How have your day-to-day operations changed during this time?
PH: Mostly in following protocols for safety. Those who are at risk or could put a family member at risk work remotely. Others work in the office and must wear facial protection and gloves, when applicable.
We also changed out all our sinks and paper towel dispensers to be motion-based and supply plenty of soap. We have even ordered UVC lamp bulbs to complete kill any virus or bacteria in the air and surfaces. This is not just for our protection, but for our customers for when we ship product. Overall, it is a culture change.
AVN: Has COVID-19 had an impact on your supply chain? If so, how are you handling any delays?
PH: For some products, there has been no impact. For the more essential ones, lead times are longer as many companies are trying to allocate the parts.
AVN: Have you implemented any virtual training/education resources for integrators?
PH: Yes, we have training videos online. We also implemented virtual lunch and learns to educate on all our products. We try to make life a little more normal by purchasing lunch for our customers during this training and have food delivered to their homes.
AVN: What has been your largest leadership success during this time?
PH: Our largest success during this time has been not laying off personnel or reducing salaries. Instead, we thought outside the box to come up with a product—Tauri Temperature Tablets with our partner GloryStar—that will potentially save many integrators and keep their employees working. Our version of the Tauri integrates our ReAX IP control technology, making it more than just a temperature tablet. It was very important to us to not just create a success for us, but our industry.
AVN: How do you think business will change post-COVID-19?
PH: I think it will ramp back up slowly, but we will be okay—even in hard times, commercial AV finds a way to succeed. For example, we may not travel as much, but that means companies will need to accommodate more conference rooms for personnel that would normally travel but now stationary. Creating new, clean, easy-to-operate huddle rooms for remote conferences to have the feeling as if you were almost at the other persons location will be important.
While nothing can take the place of face-to-face, it will be up to the creativity of manufacturers and integrators to create a more personalized experience. For example, something as simple as a hand shake gesture could be done with virtual movements.
AVN: Anything else you'd like to add?
PH: I hope everyone is staying safe. Remember, it is not just about your own company's well-being. We are a network of companies and people that depend upon each other, and this is the time to prove our character and step up when it is needed most. We all must succeed together!
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