Along with our annual Top 50 Systems Integrators feature, we polled a selection of leading firms on industry hot topics.
SCN: What do you predict will be the biggest technology of 2021?
Jeremy Elsesser, President, Level 3 Audiovisual
We predict the hottest technology in 2021 will be virtual reality and the next generation of collaboration platforms, as well as health and safety compliance technologies. Examples of this would be sensor-based automation, touchless meeting room interaction, virtual concierge services, people-tracking, and workplace analytics.
Doug Carnell, VP of Business Solutions at Guitar Center (AVDG's Parent Company)
For the commercial vertical, I believe technology that focuses on wellness and safety will continue to experience market growth. For us, systems like Ketra Lighting and Delos will be in massive demand. As we look to return-to-work strategies, solutions that purify the air, produce dynamic lighting, and improve water quality are critical and being incorporated as essential elements of the workplace moving forward. We also believe security and collaborative technologies will continue to be very important in commercial spaces.
Shiro Ando, CTO, New Era Technology
The biggest technology of 2021 will be providing secure access to digital assets for location-independent workforces and providing secure collaboration platforms for remote work environments.
Jeff Stoebner, President and CEO, AVI Systems
The biggest technologies in 2021 will include collaboration technology in classrooms, and the reconfiguration of meeting spaces to accommodate hybrid meetings.
John Steineke, Design Engineering Lead, CCS Presentation Systems
As businesses continue to deal with employees, students, and faith-based house of worship attendees adapting to a virtual environment, integrators will focus in 2021 on new unified communication system designs. This shift to meet the demand for applications such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Cisco Webex will drive the market for even more USB cameras, UC microphones, and streaming platforms.
Stephanie Scolari, AV Project Manager, IES Communications
The best-selling technology will be digital signage, which hasn’t been exciting in a long time. Because of the global pandemic, new security and health protocols will make signage and wayfinding more digital and more interactive. Digital signage is expected to grow from $31 billion in 2020 to $42.7 billion in 2025, a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent, according to AVIXA’s 2020 AV Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis.
Brian Fichter, Vice President of Visual Collaboration, Carousel Industries
I’m quite confident that sure thermal technology will have significant year-over-year growth with the recent announcement of vaccines on the near horizon and return to work initiatives. I still see virtual and videoconferencing technologies leading the way. With Google extending work from home and Microsoft announcing permanent work from home policies, there will continue to be a large percentage of home/remote workers.
Anthony Cuellar, SVP of Global Marketing, Diversified
It’s so tough to predict with the pandemic still upon us, business and education still working out new models, and the world still opening and shutting down based on new COVID-19 cases. However, I will say that technologies and solutions that provide hybrid environments will win the day. Solutions that provide seamless collaboration between both remote and office workers will be a hot ticket along with those that do the same for the classroom, the newsroom and so on. The technology I see being the hottest will truly bridge this gap. Like the conditions around us, the technology to fit these changing needs continues to evolve as we keep progressing towards lasting solutions to truly provide that experience we all crave—being together while apart. At Diversified, we believe in “Imagination Engineered” and will share the technologies the minute they're baked!
Rob Gilfillan, President, Cenero
In 2021, we will see a shift toward purpose-built rooms designed around a specific UC platform. Meeting rooms will be set up so people in the office can communicate with remote participants using any platform—Teams, Zoom, Webex, and more. We will also see an uptick in workplace management solutions that allow people to view and manage resources. By evaluating analytics about system performance, the number of people in the room, and the type of platform used, companies will be able to accommodate new regulations while also leveraging real-world data to inform future technology decisions.
Matt McClain, Director of Marketing, Key Code Media
While businesses scrambled to find band-aid solutions to keep their teams working and communicating remotely, they now looking for more professional audiovisual tools to better interact, connect, and communicate. This will likely lead to more professional cameras, document scanners, as well as easy-to-use programmable Crestron solutions. We're excited to help customers discover what to do next.