Earlier this summer, Almo Pro A/V EVP/COO Sam Taylor participated in the InfoComm 2020 Connected LIVE Q&A with AVIXA President Dave Labuskes, following the keynote address, “A Better Normal: Reducing Friction and Finding Our Way in a Hybrid World.”
During the 15-minute live Q&A, there were more questions asked than time allotted — so, Sam answered some of your questions here! This is part 2 of those responses and includes input from Almo’s business development managers who are SMEs on the topics mentioned. (You can check out part 1 here.)
This is an interview with Sam Taylor, Brian Rhatigan, Eric Olson and Rob Ziv, as written by rAVe [PUBS]. It has been edited for clarity.
Q: Do you think manufacturers should offer incentives, buy-back programs or discounts to help offset the incoming influx of new equipment needs as a response to this “new world”?
Sam: AV isn’t cheap, and it’s very common for organizations to push off upgrades because they can’t get the budget. Programs focused specifically on keeping the equipment moving are critical in managing the flow of new products and ensures that end users always have access to the most updated technology.
Q: Sam, you mentioned outsourcing will be key to scale during these trying times. Can you elaborate on this further?
Sam: As we’ve witnessed through other tough times, such as the dot-com era and the recession of 2008/2009, our industry finds new ways to evolve and thrive. Outsourcing is key right now as we’ve adapted to a new way of living in a short period of time.
Business Development Manager Cory Allen posted a recent blog post on this very topic. He outlines the following five reasons why your business should start thinking about outsourcing AV needs:
- Time Equals Money
- Economic Repeat
Q: Density is the new bad word. Conference rooms for 20, may now be for eight people? How do you see the future of the conference room with regard to how it is designed?
Sam: Brian Rhatigan, director of business development, has great input for this question.
Brian: I’m not yet convinced that there needs to be drastic changes in the physical design of conference rooms as the COVID-19 situation is still very fluid, and the future is still unknown. But what definitely will change is the utilization of these spaces. This pandemic has brought the use of UCC platforms to the forefront as they have become more important than ever, with a large segment of the workforce now remote.
As businesses reopen, conference rooms and meeting spaces will still be very important, but will at least for the immediate future, have fewer people in them, and will require videoconferencing to host blended meetings, including people in the room well as others that are remote. To have successful meetings, the quality of the near- and far-end audio becomes a high priority and presents an opportunity for integrators to revisit existing clients to evaluate currently installed systems and provide upgrades.
Q: What do you all think about implementing user interface without touch surfaces?
Sam: I believe this is the future, especially for digital signage and meeting spaces where multiple people use the same equipment. While we read conflicting reports about whether or not COVID-19 can be spread via surfaces, we do know that other germs and viruses can and do spread this way. No-touch surfaces definitely help ease these heightened concerns and reduce the amount of time and expenses needed to keep those surfaces disinfected.
The technology is out there — in lieu of touch, people can utilize hover, gesture or voice controls to achieve the same purpose while driving home a message about health and safety. Expect to see much more of this moving forward — overnight, we’ve all officially become germophobic!
Q: Where do you see the future of command and control going within the AV industry (e.g., Creston and AMX control)?
Sam: Business Development Manager Eric Olson is on this one …
Eric: As technologies advance and the different spaces they are used within (i.e., government/military, education, corporate) continue to expand, this market will continue to experience positive growth. Command and control room technology goes hand-in-hand with the different end users’ unique requirements, which is always shifting.
The bottom line is that systems need to be reliable, flexible and future-proofed as much as possible as these spaces are utilized 24/7 and cannot have any break in operability due to the critical nature of the information being gathered.
Q: What opportunities do you expect small and medium-size integrators will have?
Sam: Rob Ziv, vice president of business development and strategy, brings a thoughtful perspective to this question —
Rob: Now is an excellent time for small integrators to establish themselves as trusted resources and advisors to small-mid corporate and education end users. Many organizations are trying to adapt and identify how they will conduct fundamental activities such as meetings and classes in the coming months and long-term.
While no one has the full answers, smaller integrators often possess the ability to adapt faster than their larger counterparts. As such, they may be better prepared to consult on office layout, meeting spaces and distance learning. By learning and sharing anticipated best practices for core operational objectives, smaller integrators can position themselves for earlier involvement in projects and secure a seat at the table for future conversations and projects.
For more information on how Almo Pro A/V can support in any of the ways above, check out its AVaaS options. And if you have any questions for Sam to answer in his next blog — post them below!