SCN: What are your responsibilities?
VINCE SCHUSTER: Reporting to Chris Colpaert, PPDS general manager, my leadership is to oversee the day-to-day management of the North American business. Building on what has been an exciting and extremely busy year for PPDS, my core focus areas will be to rapidly expand the business (and grow market share), extend awareness of the PPDS brand, and help educate the market on the benefits the business provides. This includes our best-in-class customer support, our range of partner programs, and, of course, our extensive and evolving portfolio of professional display solutions.
SCN: How long have you been in this position?
VS: I started this role on October 18 to coincide with InfoComm 2021. It was a great opportunity to really get to know my new colleagues, and to meet some of our partners, customers, and members of the press. PPDS had a dynamic booth on the show floor demonstrating a whole range of Philips Professional Displays. While the attendance of the show may have been lower than previous years, there was never a quiet moment at the PPDS booth, with a high level of engagement throughout the week and many high-profile attendees.
I can honestly say I have never been more excited nor enthusiastic about the opportunities that lay ahead with PPDS. The family culture and innovation of a globally recognized brand is one which really excites me. The PPDS portfolio is making some big waves in North America and forcing arguably more established competitors to rethink the way they do business. The company’s focus on providing complete solutions, not just displays, is fairly unique.
SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role?
VS: With a career spanning more than 25 years, I bring additional industry knowledge and experience to the PPDS team in North America, as well as to the wider global company. My audiovisual career started when I was recruited by Randy Pagnan and Jay Rogina (both industry icons and mentors to me) to Hoffman Video Systems, a globally recognized AV system integrator, after undergraduate studies from SDSU. I was quickly recruited into leadership roles by market-leading manufacturers and distributors of visual display technologies. Ongoing education was paramount to my career success through earning an MBA and holding CTS, DSDE, and ISF-C industry certifications.
SCN: What do you enjoy most about the AV industry?
VS: The people and the technology are the most exciting and enjoyable for me. Over the years, I have developed long-standing friendships with industry colleagues and peer AVIXA volunteers. Overall, the AV industry remains an inviting and education-rich community consistently striving to increase awareness of the younger generation and diversity balance for long-term sustainability.
SCN: What are your short and long-term goals?
VS: Short-term and long-term goals include rapidly increasing mindshare and market share for PPDS in North America and globally. Initiatives include consistent engagement with existing and new customers, further development with the consultants and design-build specifying communities, enhanced industry partnerships, and standardization with enterprise-level customers.
[Dutch Experience Center Features PPDS Digital Signage and Video Walls]
SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from PPDS?
VS: There are many very exciting things in the pipeline, which I’m not permitted to disclose at this time. What I can say is there will be an even greater emphasis on features and functionality through the introduction of more hardware and software solutions. You will have seen our announcements at InfoComm, which included a strategic partnership with Logitech to marry world class display technology with world-class videoconferencing capabilities. There will also be an increase in industry alliance partnerships across vertical markets. Stay tuned.
SCN: What is the greatest challenge you face?
VS: There’s no such thing as complacency in my book, so every day has a new set of challenges as my team and I always strive to be better and achieve more. The foundations at PPDS are set and we have an incredible portfolio. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges today is hiring great people to join the team to keep up with the current and future growth of PPDS. It’s an exciting time for me and the company.
SCN: Where do you see the pro AV industry heading?
VS: Continued consolidation of companies and technologies, resulting in more seamless experiences for the end user through interoperable collaboration systems and managed services. PPDS and many other manufactures have implemented open APIs, paving the way for greater synergy between devices and software platforms. The system on a chip (SoC) built into professional displays will continue to evolve further as an essential pillar in the design and implementation phases of AV/IT deployments.
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and services your company offers?
VS: PPDS solutions offer more features, with longer and better warranty services, and currently have availability in distribution our warehouse. Profitability will result from a strong partnership with PPDS, incentivizing growth and offering reliability essential to managed services offered from system contractors to end users.