‘Executive Simple’ Should be the New Pro AV Business Model

Published: 2017-11-28

While finding talent remains a struggle for pro AV integration firms, another challenge is the simplification of integrated systems. I recently returned from Commercial Integrator’s 2017 Total Tech Summit where one of the panel discussions focused on “Executive Simple.” [related]

The Total Tech Summit panel consisted of the moderator, a pro AV integrator, and the integrator’s client, who was the IT Director within his organization. When the client hired the integrator, his intention was to create integrated systems that catered to the C-suite.

We’ve all been there at some point in our career: an executive attempts to use a recently-installed system, but it does not work as expected and escalations ensue.

All too often, integrators design or bid on a project with overly complex system designs; particularly with the user interface (UI).


Touchpanels are routinely designed with too many buttons, too many page flips and a difficult navigation system. The end result? Frustrated end-users losing confidence in your system and unwilling to give it another chance.

What happens next? The user demands that the system is ripped out and replaced, or finds another vendor. Within the “Executive Simple” framework outlined by the IT Director, the goal is to mitigate this risk.

“An executive needs to have the ability to walk into a room and navigate the system with zero training. If they cannot make it work, it is not Executive Simple.”

This term was the motto which helped achieve their goal.

‘Less is More’ Mentality in Pro AV Systems

As I listened to the discussion in the audience, this had me thinking of the mantra we adopted at our firm going into 2017, which is: Simpler is Better, Less is More.

When designing integrated systems, our goal is to improve what is most important to us; the client experience. The last thing they need is to buy a new car, start the engine and then fail at figuring out how to drive it.

It’s no different when the experience is purchasing a new system. When they push a button and don’t seeing what they expect, it’s the same thing: frustration.

Corporate clients expect integrators to provide them with a solution that simply works. They expect a solution similar to that of their residence. They need to be able to walk into a room, push a button or two, and it works.

Building onto that, they can walk into a room, use their phone or tablet, the system recognizes them and they are able to control the room from their device.

The days of windshields on the table to operate a system are long gone. Integrated rooms used to require numerous devices integrated into one system, but today they have been replaced with all-in-one solutions.

The UI is small and needs to be simple. The less buttons, the better. And yes, I will go as far as to say the less hardware, the better.

There is still a need for the more elaborate production spaces, such as auditoriums, theaters, etc. with much more sophisticated design criteria.

However, the client experience should still be with a system that’s easy to navigate and built upon a simplified design approach. When it comes to the client’s boardroom, training rooms, huddle and conference spaces:

Simpler is Better. Less is More. Keep it… “Executive Simple.”

Learn more about the Total Tech Summit here.

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