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Labuskes: InfoComm Will Increase Member Involvement

As InfoComm crafts its next strategic plan, the association focuses on members and their needs.

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During his “State of the Industry” address at the 2015 AV Executive Conference Nov. 20, InfoComm International executive director and CEO David Labuskes promised more member involvement in 2016 as the association continues to work on its next strategic plan.

InfoComm will take member engagement “to a new level” through a culture of member recognition, first-class customer service, career-building volunteer opportunities, differentiation programs for member companies, a new role for councils that includes an increase from $15,000 to $125,000 in the coming year and more awareness on scholarship and grant programs, including the ICIF grant program that has helped a handful of prospective integrators get a foot in the door this year.

“If you’re investing in resources, it should be in places where you’re really going to move the needle,” Labuskes said in his presentation.

The global AV industry is projected to reach $114 billion in 2016, with 11 percent compound annual growth in demand for AV products and services between 2012 and 2016, says Labuskes. InfoComm also oversaw record-setting attendance at Integrated Systems Europe, InfoComm 2015 and InfoComm India this year and reached 10,000 CTS holders and 1,000 CTS-D holders in 2015.

Slideshow: 4 Key Points From Labuskes’ Presentation

But the ever-increasing complexity of systems because of insatiable bandwidth needs, the shift from hardware- to software-based applications and changing job functions of those making buying decisions, along with changing customer expectations brought about by a BYOD mentality, the feeling personal devices “just work” wherever and whenever they’re needed and “good enough” installations may be free has certainly made the life of a systems integrator more challenging, he says.

Because of product commoditization, integrators are forced to compete on price alone, which squeezes margins and means there’s less money for investments in new employees, training and other resources, says Labuskes. Workforce development, marketing and tech support are among the top areas where InfoComm members ask leadership for help, says Labuskes.

Here’s more from Labuskes on the challenges the industry and association are facing in 2016:

The association itself is changing in terms of its demographics, shifting from a makeup of about 25 percent of members from outside North America three years ago when Labuskes succeeded Randy Lemke to slightly more than 30 percent of InfoComm members coming from outside the U.S. and Canada. About 70 percent of the global AV market is outside North America, he says.

InfoComm’s board, senior staff and employees have been discussing the 2016 strategic plan since the spring, making an effort to define the industry, InfoComm’s role within the industry, its customer segments and its value proposition within each of those segments.

Circle one of InfoComm’s customers include manufacturers, distributors, integrators, live events professionals, consultants and tech managers. The second concentric circle, dubbed non-member stakeholders, includes decision-makers, technical end users, IT managers, engineering firms, architects and designers and production media. The third segment, who InfoComm is defining as non-stakeholder influencers, is comprised of government and regulatory bodies, non-technical end users and procurement officers.

That means looking at questions such as “what’s the situation,” “where will we play,” “how will we win,” “what’s going to stop us” and “what will we do?” Some of those answers, of course, will come from the members themselves, says Labuskes, who are welcome to offer their insights as the plan is crafted.

“The more minds involved in solving a problem, the better the solution can be,” says Labuskes. “The focus should be very litter on what we sell and very much on what we do.”

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