The push toward globalization goes both ways: Not only are many US companies looking abroad for new opportunities, but dozens of companies with headquarters on distant shores are coming to America, too. Foreign firms, from the EU to China, see the US as an expanding market for their goods and services. Although this trend provides new opportunities for AV/IT pros and companies, it also presents new challenges.
Many inbound companies are looking for partner firms to help them with sales, service, integration and even product development. For example, when Atos came to America, it contracted with FSG to build out its regional headquarters in Texas. (You can read about the project in this issue.) In another instance, London-based systems integrator AVMI, realizing the value of local expertise, hired locally when it opened its first US office in New York NY to provide videoconferencing, AV systems and event-support services for a major client on Wall Street.
We take many things for granted about our great country; sometimes, we forget how unique it is in its diversity. College sports and houses of worship are two of our most dynamic AV market segments; neither, however, plays a major role in AV/IT outside the US. Another crucial difference is the attitude toward data privacy and security. Regulations in the EU are even stricter than in the US, but not all countries feel as strongly as we do about protecting confidential information. As local partners, US tech firms can help new colleagues better understand various aspects of our culture, and how best to serve our vertical markets. Getting up to speed with those issues, and related ones, through effective training is a critical part of surviving—and thriving—in an increasingly global marketplace.
It’s a brave new connected world, and the AV/IT industry is at the forefront of the communications revolution that will transform the way everyone works, plays and learns. Discovering and expanding international partnerships are prudent ways to become an important part of this future.