January 31, 2013 By Tom LeBlanc
One reason AVI-SPL launched its European headquarters in London is that it wants to “be there,” meaning Europe, “to capture the new growth that happens” as the region comes out of its recession, according to EVP of operations Doug Carnell.
The $584.7 million Tampa, Fla.-based integrator isn’t alone.
Many manufacturers recognize Europe as a market with big upside for commercial electronics. At ISE 2013, 207 of its 894 exhibitors (about 23 percent) are new to the show. That’s largely because the 10-year-old trade show is growing in popularity and relevance, but it’s also because many North American-based manufacturers are looking to better address European markets.
The U.S. government sees value in American commercial electronics providers bringing their solutions to Europe. During ISE 2013, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce hosted a lunch meeting aimed at educating companies about European markets that are good candidates for audio/video deployment and issued its Audio Visual Market Guide – Europe.
The free downloadable resource outlines 20 European countries, offering analysis on how challenging and profitable it could be to break into each A/V market. The U.S. Department of Commerce explains the U.K., for example, is “the No. 1 gateway to Europe, giving easy access to the 27 member states of the European Union, the world’s largest single market, with its population of 500 million.”
For the Netherlands, the document says purchasing agents for government and educational institutions are becoming increasingly important technology purchasers. “Sales channels to the business market include IT distributors, system integrators and telecom companies,” it adds.
Meanwhile, it points to obstacles for American companies looking to break into the Dutch market, such as the requirement that all electrical equipment exports to members of the European Union all bear the Conformite Europeenne mark, indicating compliance with European Union health, safety and environmental standards.
More than anything, however, the 67-page document seems to be saying to U.S. companies that European A/V markets are worth investigating.
ZeeVee, a first time ISE exhibitor, is doing more than investigating the European A/V market by introducing at the show its HD versions of its HDbridge 2000 Series of digital video modulators. ZeeVee developed a version of the line that is “European compatible” and meets “international standards,” explained Bob Michaels, ZeeVee’s senior VP, worldwide sales.
ZeeVee says an important discussion to its European approach is that many part of Europe emerging from the recession aren’t necessarily growing like gangbusters.
The unique selling proposition that ZeeVee touts is that its video distribution over coax solutions allow its target clients - primarily higher education, assisted living and hospitality - to avoid having to run new wires and offers significant cost savings versus alternatives. The 2000 Series launched at ISE 2013 boasts price points 10 to 15 percent lower per channel than that of ZeeVee’s existing Hdbridge line.
Europe is at a point in its economic recovery where its clamoring for technology, but is still extremely cost-conscious, according to ZeeVee’s director of marketing Kai Rostcheck. “The desire to have HD is going to grow faster than the economy is going to rebound,” he says. “They want HD without spending a lot of money.”
A significant challenge for ZeeVee is “identifying the areas that are rebounding more quickly,” Rostcheck says, adding that the U.S. Department of Commerce report helps with that. “Once we understand where to go most aggressively, it’s just tactical challenges.”