It’s been almost a year since InfoComm became AVIXA, and our world as we knew it changed forever. We woke up on that fateful day in September last year, the 13th of September to be exact, to the press release heard around the commercial audiovisual world. We no longer were AV companies focusing on standard audiovisual, oh no, we were now expected to be experts in integrated experiences with a dash of audiovisual prowess thrown in for good measure.
On September 14th, 2017, when we woke up, the sun dawned and we, as an industry, emerged as those experts in integrated experiences ready to conquer this brand new world. Or we didn’t. In all actuality many of us woke up on that Thursday in September shaking our heads, trying to figure out what in the world the organization we knew and loved was thinking? Many even voiced our opinions using that dreaded outside voice our mothers warned us about, taking to social media and water coolers everywhere to discuss this questionable new direction we were expected to take. Twitter was abuzz, as participants on both sides of the debate dug their trenches to survive the ensuing onslaught of debate!
Ok so I may have sensationalized this just a touch, but maybe I haven’t—social media was definitely buzzing with what we shall just call “commentary.” I’d argue the jury is still out for a verdict, mainly because this debate is still going on. Our industry is full of people who don’t understand the big deal because they are already experts (in their own minds) at creating the integrated experience that everyone is clamoring for, while others are happy to just continue business as usual and patiently wait for this phase to pass. But this isn’t going to pass. It’s here to stay so you better buckle up; it’s gonna be a fun ride. The concept of providing an integrated experience shouldn’t be so foreign to us. In reality, it’s kind of what we have always strived to provide our clients. Whatever the environment, our clients are having an experience with the technology that we integrate. For now, we’ve decided that for a client to have an integrated experience that we must be using augmented reality, a virtual reality headset, environmental projection—maybe even some smello-vision. But that misses the point.
Yes, we can utilize the latest technology to provide exceptional experiences for our clients, but that doesn’t diminish the standard experience we provide to our clients every day. This doesn’t let us off the hook. Just because I’m pointing out how we have the opportunity every day to provide an integrated experience to our clients, that doesn’t mean that we actually do. Nope, we can get caught up with the day-to-day and revert to offering traditional AV with little care given to the experience. Even worse, we can attempt to disregard this trend of focusing on experiences and push back, almost subconsciously trying to buck this trend. Heck, some people are still mad about the name change and state how much they don’t believe in the conceptual change that AVIXA is trying to bring to fruition.
These are the people I love to come up against. They are the ones you’ll find usually using an approach that’s stuck in the ’90s. They aren’t innovating. They aren’t listening to their clients’ needs, they’re telling the clients how they should work and what their workflow should look like. They aren’t creative. To put it plainly, they’re boring. It’s not exciting to work with them. It’s a challenge. We’ve all heard the stories, most of us have come across them, and, unfortunately, we’ve all probably lost projects to them.
Luckily for us, this isn’t the problem you may think it is. It can be fantastic for you, as long as you are innovating and working to create the best experience for your customers. I personally love going up against competition that still wants to play it safe and refuses to hop onboard the experience train. What they don’t seem to understand is that, as they continue to languish and slide back into the ’90s, I’m up here getting ready to eat their lunch. Now I’m gonna upgrade their lunch—I don’t want their soggy sandwich. We’re going to continue to evolve and cater to our clients and meet them where they’re at. That’s what allows us to get in the door and ultimately create that integrated experience so many customers are looking for.
This isn’t as much an “us-versus-them” situation as it is an “evolve-or-languish” situation. If you don’t learn to evolve into this new experience-focused space, you’ll still survive. You’ll meet your sales goals this quarter and the next quarter, but soon enough you’ll slowly begin to fade. You’ll slowly lose your effectiveness and your market share. And you know who’s gonna take it? Someone who’s innovating. Someone who’s listening. Someone who’s creative. Someone who’s shaping an experience. Someone like me!