SCN: What technology and/or verticals were most successful in 2014?
Greg Schwartz: 2014 was the year of wireless collaboration and huddle room technology. Our outside sales team not only calls on integrators and consultants, but we also meet with end-users to bring projects back through the channel. The demand for wireless collaboration and huddle room technology for classrooms and conference rooms is clearly being driven by the end user. At BTX, we think the growth in this category is still in its early stages, and as the economy continues to rebound, this technology requirement will drive a lot of growth in our channel over the next three years.
What customer or end-user demand surprised you the most and why?
GS: In 2014, BTX did more business in the convention center vertical than in any other year in our 47-year history. While we knew this business would grow due to the expansion of our fiber optic assembly capabilities, the actual high level of demand was far beyond our expectations. So why were we surprised? We didn’t fully estimate the scope of immediate demand for fiber in both the commercial AV and rental and staging markets. Having a dedicated fiber lab with automated equipment and certified technicians enables us to provide competitive pricing with fast turnaround times and has allowed us to efficiently scale production up to meet the increasing demand.
Which vertical markets are on the rise and which do you see declining?
GS: The improving economy is a rising tide, and as a result, we believe that virtually all of our major markets will increase in the short-term. However, within each market there will be transitions to newer, more effective technologies. IP based products will continue to reshape the landscape of signal distribution and digital signage in malls, airports, and campus applications. Higher education budgets will call for more lecture capture, video on demand, and collaboration solutions. Schools just now entering the digital age will be embracing technologies like HDBaseT for the first time, and the expanding medical market will cause a continued increase in demand for telepresence, medical procedure capture, and ultra-high resolution displays.