Top 5 Bar and Restaurant Market Integrators of 2016

These innovative, market-leading firms offer advice on how to stay at the forefront of this pervasive integration vertical.

Gone are the days of Cheers-style bars, when all most customers wanted was a frosty brew and conversation with familiar faces.

Technology — from TV screens everywhere you turn to zoned audio systems that bring you to another part of the world or perhaps transport you to another time in your life — are more popular than ever and our Industry Leaders share their secrets for succeeding in this space.

Dennis Pitzl, owner of Concepts AV Integration, says his company is focused on service, starting with accommodating all clients’ service calls on the same day they come in.

The biggest challenge, he says, “is the competitors’ race to zero,” a term that others in the space used as well.

“The race to zero is an expression I use when referring to companies that sell product at or below cost just to win the project or sale. This practice does no one any good,” says Pitzl.

Roberta Perry, VP of business development at Edwards Technologies, says cloud-based content management and ongoing support services through Videro software enable the company to have great success. ETI’s 24-7 support service and global coverage are other pieces that make it stand out.

The biggest challenge, says Perry, is “convincing potential clients to adapt subscription-based, scalable content management. Issues are addressed in face-to-face meetings and road shows.”

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Omega Audio Video recently started offering full IT services, says Fiona Scott. “We have begun offering complete IT solutions in addition to our AV offerings to be able to provide our clients with a complete end-to-end technology solution,” she says. “We’ve found that this really allows us to become that true full service technology system.”

Omega Audio Video also focused on “supplying solutions that are accessible to younger users,” says Scott. “As our clients’ workforces evolve and continue to shift to younger demographics, we’ve noticed a trend in changing workplace practices and uses of technology,” she says. “The biggest challenge we’re looking forward to addressing in 2016 will be security of our AV systems and IT systems. We’re seeing more and more connected devices and IoT that will continue to evolve and place a premium on the security of our systems.”

Kevin Goldsmith, chief technology officer at Ping HD, says “cost is a huge factor” in providing solutions both he and the customers want.

“Our push towards System on a Chip (SoC) technology eliminated the need for external media players,” he says. “This reduced our solution cost and improved the reliability of the solution. The solution architecture is probably the most significant part that sets Ping HD apart from the competition. SoC technology allows us to compete aggressively while maintain solid margins.

“Our agile development on our core CMS ensures that we provide all the features required for digital signage projects. Having an in-house content design team allows us to provide a complete turnkey integration service,” says Goldsmith.

Serious Audio Video uses “strategic planning and unique designs to set us apart from our competitors as well as our customer service and marketing strategy,” says VP of marketing Joe Lipari. “We build long-lasting relationships with our customers and position ourselves as experts in the field.”

Check out the complete report: Meet the 2016 CI Industry Leaders