InfoComm International executive director and CEO David Labuskes has talked about the importance of the AV integration industry thinking globally since he took the helm in January 2013, and this worldwide approach was part of InfoComm’s 2014 strategic plan.
So Labuskes was happy to see PSNI launch its Global Alliance last month, adding 10 overseas affiliates to its three dozen North American members as part of an effort to better meet customer demand. The need for global thinking is even more pronounced after seeing almost 120 countries represented among the record-setting crowd of 44,077 people at InfoComm 2017.
“Our job is to do what our customers want us to do,” Labuskes told PSNI Global Alliance members at the group’s annual InfoComm breakfast session. “You have to tell your company’s story every day. Customers’ needs and wants have moved to the front of the sales cycle and they’re more complicated than they used to be.”
Labuskes sees InfoComm International as a catalyst for market growth and a hub for the AV community. This year, InfoComm will focus on increasing awareness of the industry to four markets: higher education, commercial banking, and finance, hospitality, and retail, with other markets to be the focus in each of the next couple of years under the newest strategic plan.
“They need to not only hear us but to engage with us,” says Labuskes.
He also told PSNI members about the plan to overhaul its approach to market research, saying InfoComm “doesn’t have a very good reputation” in that area. Labuskes sees those sorts of resources as “an untapped need” and a potential revenue source for the organization.
“We’re hoping you’re seeing more authenticity from us,” says Labuskes. “We’re telling you what we plan to do and what we can’t do.”
Labuskes calls the ongoing consolidation within the industry “the sign of a healthy ecosystem.” Among the most recent deals are CI 2016 Integrator of the Year Diversified adding CompView to the fold and Ford AV acquiring Audio Video Resources just before the annual InfoComm show.
“Companies are growing and others are leaving room for new ones,” he says.
In terms of going global, InfoComm’s worldwide membership has tripled “from a really low base” since Labuskes took over. He congratulated PSNI for adopting an approach that will help it add more global opportunities for itself through the Global Alliance.
“Your number one job is to figure out your primary constraint and spend 80 percent of your time working on it,” says Labuskes. “The technology model won’t last another five years. If you’re still using that model, you’ll be replaced by seedlings that will grow into trees.”
PSNI president Dana Barron, who’s also CEO of HB Communications, agrees with Labuskes’ overall assessment of the market.
“If we become less relevant, you’re going to be doing less business,” he told members, advocating for empathy in their business dealings. “We need to be doing a lot more listening than we’ve ever done. We puke a lot of technology on the table and talk about ourselves. It has to be about empathy. Customer success is what we need to be selling going forward.”