Why Furniture Customers Are Learning about Atlona AV Distribution
Upscale office furnishing retailer partner keeps an integration firm sales consultant embedded in its showrooms to address inevitable technology needs.


DGI Communications account manager Darby DeChristopher (left) is embedded in Creative Office Pavillion's Boston Design Center showroom.
May 11, 2016 By Tom LeBlanc

On one particular day, adjacent to the myriad of office vignettes scattered around upscale furniture retailer Creative Office Pavilion’s Boston Design Center showroom, a small conference room plays host to Atlona technology demos.

The retailer is hosting an open house event for higher education customers—and the Boston area has a lot of those.

AV distribution solution-provider Atlona doesn’t seem to be a natural choice to be displayed alongside HermanMiller, DIRTT architectural walls and VS school furniture, but regional sales manager Adam Griffin recognizes a unique path to satisfied customers.

Related: Furniture Dealer Adds AV and Wins Projects Before You Know They Exist

For the event Atlona showcases classroom, huddle room and conference space solutions, including a presentation switcher for a meeting room with eight to fourteen participants; and its two-piece AT-UHD-HDVS-300-KIT which enables a single-category cable connection between a conferencing hub and a 4K display with a USB camera.

Really? These are conversations to have with furniture customers?

Yes, says Griffin. “The idea is that end users are coming here with projects. Whether it be a large project, a small project, corporate or education—it doesn’t really matter. They come here first,” he says.

“After the architectural design, they’re here to buy all the furniture and trim out the entire room, from paint to lighting. Everything is done here. It is at that point where our dealer [steps in].”

That dealer is North Billerica, Mass.-based integration firm DGI Communications, and there are more benefits to being there early than just having an opportunity to woo the customer, says president Michael Walsh. It gives the integrator a rare opportunity to address technology and space concerns before they fester.

“The expectations get set early on,” Walsh says.

Customers spend so much time thinking about layout and design of their workspace up front “well before any consultant or bid is out there,” he adds.

Related: Here’s Why Integrators Should Get Into the Furniture Business

“Some customers are, I think, a little disappointed when some technology comes in the room. They’ll see speakers in a ceiling or a big projector. I think from the end user’s perspective there’s a lot of benefit to bringing both of these things which will live in the same room or table together.”

Then there’s the one-stop-shopping benefit that shouldn’t be discredited. Customers have a lot on their plate when researching solutions for their workspace and often it’s seeing showroom vignettes that helps them start to visualize an end product. It helps to be able to walk through various needs at that time, it resonates if the retailer is able to say, according to account manager Darby DeChristopher, DGI’s employee embedded in Creative Office Pavilion’s Boston Design Center showroom.

“We can also bid on wiring. We can also bid on the AV. We can also bid on any graphics or anything you may want,” she says.

“From a client perspective it’s more of a one-stop-shop and it’s easier for them to go through one funnel and get all these services rather than having this vendor for this, that vendor for that. We’re making it easier, almost like a menu where they can choose what they want.”

Atlona set up shop in one of Creative Office Pavillion’s many workspace vignettes at its Boston Design Center showroom for a higher education market customer event.


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About the author

Tom LeBlanc - Editor-in-Chief, CI,
Tom has been covering electronics integration since 2003. Prior to being named editor-in-chief of CI, he was senior writer and managing editor of CE Pro. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Follow him on Twitter @leblanctom.
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