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Prepare for the Pizza Hut Projector

That’s right. The fast food chain has introduced a pizza box-shaped disposable projector that utilizes technology the user already has — a smartphone.>

Tim Albright
Photos & Slideshow
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A number of very smart pundits have decried the demise of displays over the last few years

The prices, and margins, on both flat panels and projectors have virtually vanished. Some have even called the projector the next commoditized product in AV much akin to cables and connectors.

Bolstering this argument, Pizza Hut has introduced a projector. That’s right, I said Pizza Hut — the purveyor of stuffed crust pizza, breadsticks and hot wings.

After staring at the product introduction video for a number of minutes I still wasn’t quite certain of what I was watching. It is a pizza box that comes with a lens, a punchout to place the lens, and a holder for your smartphone to act as the light and video source.

In every aspect this is a disposable projector. It utilizes what the customer already possesses, a smartphone, and gives them the tools to create a unique experience. Is it an “exceptional experience” though? Most likely not. However, it is a step.

Photos: Turning a pizza box into a projector

Like the Nest, wireless locks and other IoT devices this projection device is an opportunity. It gives you, the integrator, a chance to start the conversation about the different levels of displays. Most certainly your clients can obtain flat panels at a big-box store, club store or even a rogue website selling them in five-packs at a ridiculous discount. However, they can’t buy you there.

The “commoditization” of displays is the opportunity to bring value to your clients. This is where you start the conversation about what makes you different from competitors. If your clients want to purchase their flat panels and projectors in a
12-pack for much less than you can purchase them yourself, there really isn’t much you can do.

There is little business sense in losing money on display sales. When they get them to their location, though, who is going to install them, maintain them, or make certain they get the right one for their use case? That would be you, and that is your value.

Prices on devices are going to fall; it’s what they do as technology matures. Your value should increase as those prices fall because at that point you are still the AV expert and their trusted advisor. As long as you maintain the position, you will weather the ups and downs of commodity pricing.

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