Inside an Integrator’s Uncommon Decision to Open a Commercial AV Showroom

Published: 2018-02-05

At a time when most commercial integration firms choose not to dedicate space to demonstrating technology for invited or visiting customer prospects, Digital Display Solutions Audio Video (DDSAV) sees an opportunity. The San Antonio, Texas-based integration firm is all-in on its new commercial AV showroom which will be part of an 8,000-square-foot facility.

[related] The new space will showcase collaboration, digital signage and video streaming, according to a report by Total Tech Summit. “There will be three dedicated conference rooms fully built out with control systems, which will comprise about half the space. The remaining 4,000 square feet will consist of a dedicated showroom for various other technologies.”

DDS is using this 20-foot-by-10-foot digital sign to sell its products, including digital signage.

The trend in the commercial integration industry is not to dedicate space for product demonstrations. However, there has been an influx recently of companies that choose to “walk the walk” with employees working in space and using technology that they provide to their customers. In these cases, integration firms tend to encourage prospective customers to visit their offices to show living, breathing examples of the types of solutions they offer.

DDSAV, however, has a unique situation, president Roger Harbert explained to Total Tech Summit, home of CI Summit.

The significant investment in the space is strategic and, in part, driven by its location. The facility is situated along US 281, a busy highway next to San Antonio International Airport. It even added a 20-foot-by-10-foot direct view LED outdoor digital signage for countless commuters, many of whom are business people, driving to and from the airport.

“We’re kind of breaking the mold, as far as I can see, in stepping out and taking what we do in commercial AV system integration and actually marketing it,” Harbert says. “There’s a huge need for our services, but nobody knows where to get it other than Google. So, this is an opportunity to show people with this billboard that we’ve got some great solutions for things that they need in their place of business.”

The overall motivation, of course, is that DDSAV sees an opportunity to expand its business – something it does have in common with most integration firms.

“I think a lot of people in our industry are going to look at this and see if this works,” Harbert says. “Is this type of showroom and AV mainstream enough for that? We’re about to find out. But, I think it is.”

Read the full report by Total Tech Summit here.
5 Takeaways from DDSAV’s Decision to Commit to a Showroom:
  • Several major manufacturers have expressed interest in displaying products in the DDSAV showroom, many of which Harbert met with at the CI Summit, and who Harbert says he may not have met if not for the event. Those include Bosch, LG, NEC, Vanguard LEC and Yamaha Revolabs.
  • Harbert hopes the facility can teach people the benefits of incorporating such tech features in their businesses.
  • “Not only is it a showroom, but we really want to be an educational facility, as well,” Harbert says. “We’re really trying to create a facility where people can come to learn, experience and see this technology and understand it. There is no other way they’d be able to do that without going to a tradeshow or traveling road show.”
  • Harbert believes once he is able to get potential customers into the facility to experience the equipment, the company’s close rate will increase significantly, and the sign will be a major catalyst in getting those people inside.
  • The showroom itself still is a work-in-progress. DDS is in the process of finalizing a sale on the building which it has been leasing for years, then it will work on the remodel. Harbert says the purchase should be completed soon, and hopes to have the showroom operational by June. Then, the commercial AV industry will begin to find out if this experiment will be as successful as Harbert envisions.

The original version of this article ran on Total Tech Summit’s site. Total Tech Summit is the home of CI Summit, Commercial Integrator’s annual hosted executive conference

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