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Executive Q&A: All About the New Reality

KMH Integration
(Image credit: KMH Integration)

SCN: What are your responsibilities?

Kevin Henneman: I’m the founder and principal. My job is keeping our current clients happy, finding new business, and staying ahead of the changing trends in the A/V industry. But an equally important part of my role is making sure my team has everything they need to do their jobs. They’re the ones who really get things done day-to-day for this company and our customers, so supporting them in any way possible is my top priority.

SCN: How long have you been in this position?
KH: I started KMH Integration in 2005, but my career in pro AV goes back decades. I started as a freelance recording engineer and an educator, then moved into designing and building video and audio editing suites before taking on full-time system integration roles.

SCN: What are your short and long-term goals for KMH?
KH: Short-term, we are focused on continuing the incredible business momentum we’ve experienced in the past few years. Our base is still providing pro AV services for media and entertainment companies, but we’re also getting a great deal of interest from clients in new markets, from education to retail and corporate, and even the arts and philanthropic organizations. Stand by for more announcements on those soon.

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All this ties to our long-term goal of growing the company at the right pace. We don’t necessarily want to be the biggest system integrator, but we do want to be the best, one that customers can rely on as a long-term partner. I worked in many different system integrator roles before starting KMH, and there were always things I knew I’d do differently. Number one was trying to reimagine the customer service aspect of systems integration. Too often, the traditional integration business model is focused on quick turnover: Complete a project and then move on to maximize your profits. It doesn’t need to be that way, and that’s not why I started this business.

SCN: What is the greatest challenge you face as a company?
KH: Technology and the overall business environment are changing so rapidly. Everything is moving faster than it did two or three years ago, with a greater emphasis on “just getting things done.” There’s so much information being thrown at customers every day that it’s hard for them to know what to listen to and what to avoid. They might have heard the latest technology buzzword and are now convinced they must have it. Our job is educating customers and being their advisor, in addition to being the guys who can pull wires and install racks.

When a client engages KMH, they’re not just getting me and my experience. They’re getting a full team of professionals who focus on completing the job, even if it means going a little beyond the original project scope. Customers are looking for long-term professional collaborations, with a service provider that can help them plan and recommend reasonable solutions that fit their business model.

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SCN: From Zoom meetings to hybrid events, the use of live video-over-IP is exploding for the corporate world. How is KMH helping its clients incorporate video-over-IP solutions?
KH: Online and remote/hybrid workflows are going to be permanent realities, so instead of asking when we are going back to the way things were, we need to think in terms of embracing the new technologies. Traditional on-site production and in-person collaboration will never go away. At the same time, giving a director or producer the ability to work from home and still interact with a TD or talent on set as easily as if they were all together is a great option.

We’ve been providing more consulting services to help customers adapt and find new ways of creating and distributing content to keep their brands visible. We’ve customized video networks, designed remote production workflows for WFH or hybrid employees, deployed new media distribution systems and IP encoding platforms—all while still doing our traditional system integration work. There’s not always a user manual for what customers need today, so we figure it out together by working with them at every stage of a project.

SCN: Where do you see the pro AV industry heading?
KH: Everything is headed in a more collaborative direction, with increasing uses of Dante and NDI technologies and media-over-IP to support both in-house and remote production. It’s about more than connecting the right network devices, converters, cameras, or switchers. It’s about making all these different pieces work together seamlessly to form intelligent workflows, matching the right technology to the right application for our customers. 

SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from your company?
KH: We’re always looking for new ways to evolve and grow as a company, putting the right people in the right roles to best support every aspect of a system integration project. That also applies to our extensive network of partners we can tap into for various specialized needs. One recent example is a new professional streaming and studio platform we’re launching with our partner, Creative Dimensions. It’s a combination streaming hub and customizable “pop-up” studio set that can scale to any need a customer has for online and remote production.

SCN: What’s the one piece of advice you try to share with clients at the beginning of a project? 
KH: The best advice I can give a customer is to go at your own pace. I’d never recommend something just because it helps my business but is not the right fit for the customer in the long-term. Every system installation doesn’t need to be the biggest, it just needs to make the most sense for our customers, so they can better serve their customers.

Mark J. Pescatore

Mark J. Pescatore, Ph.D., is the content director of Systems Contractor News.