When you think about the future of AV, don’t focus so much on what’s in the box, but rather on how you can help people achieve their goals. And, remember, things are changing at a pace that might be faster than they ever have.
“The things that are changing have very little to do with technology and everything to do with behavior,” Mike Walsh, author and CEO of innovation research agency Tomorrow, told PSNI members at their annual Supersummit in Phoenix in mid-February.
“What will the next generation of customers expect from you? Five years doesn’t seem like very long, but look how our behavior has changed in that time. Imagine how dramatic the change is going to be in the next five years,” says Walsh. “Data is creating an expectation brands and companies get smarter. Young people aren’t afraid of data being collected. They almost demand it. That leads to better, faster, richer, more personalized experiences.”
Impacting Workplace Environments
Walsh asked a couple of rhetorical questions: How can you get young people involved with the next generation of recruits? And how can we rethink the customer experience in the 21st century? It comes from the convergence of technology and entertainment, he says.
“What’s made you successful may kill you tomorrow,” Walsh says. “You must combine engineering with storytelling.” Walsh also wondered how technology will reshape the future of the way we work, noting “people don’t want to work from home. They want to be in busy, noisy, office-like environments.”
He wonders how data will inspire the design of work spaces in the future, and how commercial integrators will play a role in resulting solutions.
“How do AV people get businesses to take them more seriously when designing their buildings,” he asks. Another, perhaps more pressing, question from Walsh: “Can you offer what you do as a cloud-based service to the CIO? If not, which of your competitors can?”
See Through Customers’ Eyes
The questions Walsh raised seemed to echo much of what integrators have been hearing or reading about lately, or perhaps, what some have been neglecting to address. The provocative thoughts kept coming, with Walsh asking, “How do you differentiate in a time of disruptive change? We’re living in a time when profound problems can be solved with a software update in the cloud.
“We’re facing a time of increasing technological change. The only way to survive that is to find a new model and stay close to your customers and see the world through their eyes,” he adds.
Walsh wondered aloud how AV companies will take advantage of the rise of Big Data. These conversations must cover specific ways in which customers can benefit from various data, whether it is implementations they have considered or those that integrators recommend based on knowing the client well.
“Data is still very important, but you have to be able to see it in a bigger context,” he says. “It’s not just about collecting the data. You have to be able to visualize it in a way that allows people to make faster, more effective decisions. Data only comes to life when you can visualize it in a way that demands or compels action.”
In a few years, the lines between board rooms and operations centers will be blurred, or perhaps flipped entirely, says Walsh. “Board rooms will look like tech ops and tech ops will look like customer care,” he says.
Artificial intelligence is another innovation that’s making headway and will continue to grow in importance going forward, says Walsh.
“It’s not just up to us,” he says. “You also have to design systems that get smarter and more personalized as they’re used.” Not surprisingly for someone who heads a company focused on innovation research, Walsh left the audience with grand thoughts that could spur them to change the way things are done in the systems integration world. “Think new, think big and most importantly think quick.”