Are your ears burning? We’ve been talking about you. By “we,” I mean the AV industry’s trade association; by “you,” I mean the great work you do building AV experiences that deliver outcomes for your customers. Part of InfoComm International’s evolution to the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) was to reassert our role, as an association, as your representative in the marketplace for AV solutions and services…to act as an advocate for what you do, and help build greater awareness of AV in industries where you can have the most impact.
So, we were talking about you in New Orleans LA in September at the International Retail Design Conference (IRDC). According to AVIXA’s recently released 2017 AV Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA) Global Summary, which was prepared for us by leading research firm IHS Markit, the worldwide market for AV products and services in retail is poised to grow 6.5 percent annually from now through 2022.
Earlier this year, when we partnered with publisher ST Media to survey retailers and their store designers, we found that little more than half of respondents said AV was always or often part of their retail designs. At a time when stores are competing with online commerce for customers, that number should be much larger. (Here’s the good news—when we asked them whom they’d turn to for advice when integrating AV into retail, the top answer was an AV consultant. So, we’re making progress there.)
At IRDC, AVIXA’s CEO, Dave Labuskes, CTS, CAE, RCDD, and AV professionals from Britelite Immersive, ESI Design and Float4 told a ballroom of about 400 brands and designers how AV experiences that are thoughtfully planned and executed could draw shoppers, engage them and, ultimately, drive business results. The conversations throughout the event were constructive, and the feedback we got was very positive. As you might expect, retailers that start with only the technology (“We put in this great videowall and, now, we don’t know what to do with it or how to keep it up to date”) appreciate a broader conversation with AV integrators and designers. It helps them understand their goals, and how a solution that embraces content, space and technology is better than just buying a bunch of screens and “going it alone.”
We also met retail designers who know about our InfoComm trade shows, and who’ve made a habit of attending, knowing they must stay on top of trends. One asked how our industries could work together more. We said we’d continue to attend their events and that more of them should attend ours, where they’ll find new programs, content and solution providers that speak to their need to tell a brand’s story through AV.
By the time you read this, AVIXA will have taken the message of AV experiences to retailers in Europe at the Retail Week Interiors conference in the UK. We are, after all, a global trade organization.
Days from when I write this, AVIXA, Diversified and ESI Design will be talking to the financial services industry about you, and about the benefits of AV, at the American Bankers Association annual convention. In November, we’re making our way to New York NY to talk to the hospitality industry about you at a pair of conferences—Boutique Design New York (BDNY) 2017 and Hotel Experience 2017. The hospitality market is growing faster than retail—more than 10 percent a year globally, according to the IOTA report. In our survey of the hospitality industry, we found a market that is very interested in how AV solutions could make the hotel, restaurant or cruise ship experience more engaging. Heck, a whopping 74 percent were interested in augmented or virtual reality being worked into a future project! That’s an indication that hospitality is a market open to AV innovation.
I tell you, this is some of the best fun we have had—getting out there and telling decision-makers what commercial AV can do for them. People understand AV instinctively; they have 65-inch TVs and surround-sound systems, which can be a blessing and a curse. They don’t need convincing that AV is awesome; however, it takes a little horn tooting on behalf of the commercial AV industry for them to understand there’s value in investing in AV done right.
In December, we head to Berlin, Germany, for OEB 2017, a global conference centered on learning technology, where we’ll stress the importance to education of new AV and collaboration platforms. AVIXA already has an engaged community of higher-education technology managers in its membership; the goal of speaking at events like OEB, or the American Council on Education’s annual meeting earlier this year, is to underscore to provosts, department heads, administrators and others how giving additional resources to those technology managers, while adopting richer AV solutions, can lead to better learning outcomes.
You’ve probably done a pretty great education install lately (or retail…or hospitality…or banking). As your trade association, we’re happy to brag about it behind your back. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.