‘Twas a Great & Lousy Year, Declares Josh Srago

Published: 2014-12-17

Commercial Integrator asked some of our industry columnists to articulate short arguments for why 2014 was positive year for the integration industry; and also why it was a negative year.

First, we heard from Chris Neto about how “business as usual” made 2014 a lousy year, but despite that, collaborative and huddle spaces flourished. Then we read Daniel Newman’s argument that how integrators fared in 2014 all depended on their transitioning to recurring service revenue.

Last but certainly not least, hear from Josh Srago, founder of, as he argues with himself over whether 2014 was a great or lousy year for the industry.

Lack of Leadership: Why 2014 Was a Lousy Year

Asked what path the AV industry has taken throughout 2014, I have a one-word response: rudderless.

We have no clear direction as an industry and the leadership, while raising their voices over some key issues of sexism and equality, has been mostly silent about where it is we’re heading.

The industry is currently clamoring for guidance. There is a weekly argument going on about which direction the industry is headed and the frontrunner is perpetually just the flavor of the week.

Where is the definitive leadership as to what our industry is doing in its partnerships with the IT community? Where is the standardized, non-manufacturer specific, training in order to prepare new technicians, project managers, engineers and salespeople for the next evolution?

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Like an ancient ship that sets out to share wares and explore new regions, I find that the AV industry is just drifting with the tide at this point. We are a collective of brilliant minds and independent thinkers, but in order for the industry as a whole to succeed, we must have some clear path that defines where it is we are heading.

Are we pushing a more IT-centric agenda? Are we looking to differentiate ourselves as a unique industry with a unique set of skills? Where is it we are going?

This past year gave us some great technological evolutions as we look toward the near future, but if we find ourselves constantly at war inside our own industry as to which direction we’re trying to head, the industry will suffer and lose credibility.

It’s time for the captains of this ship to grab the helm and instill confidence in our future direction. Without that, the current members will continue the infighting and future members will be deterred by seeing constant arguments.

Integration: Why 2014 Was a Great Year

It seems odd that the best thing to happen in 2014 for AV is the foundation of what the industry stands on: integration.

The evolution of the products that we have seen in the 2000s and the industry moving more of its signal types onto the network have allowed for the easiest methods of system integration that we have ever seen.

By having more of our devices communicating via the network we have moved into a position where, once the IT backbone is in place, we are the centerpiece of the high-profile projects. The HVAC systems, lighting systems, room scheduling, shades, security and, of course, AV and communications systems are all operating in conjunction with or through our integrated control systems.

The end users are excited to put these system solutions into place because of the ease of operation and maintenance, plus the added advantage of being green or energy efficient.

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This means that the fear so many in the industry had that we would be replaced or swallowed up by the IT field is proving to be a falsehood because it is the AV system solutions that are providing the user-operated end points running some of the most sophisticated buildings in the world.

AV systems integration has become a statement for companies and homes. The more devices you can control from your touch-panel, tablet or phone, the higher the “wow factor” has become. Employees are now seeking out the companies with the technological capabilities to support their work, especially if it allows for flexibility of location.

We are at the center of this shift and as the technology perpetually pushes forward and integrators find new, creative ways to apply these tools, we will continue to find ourselves at the center point of people’s home and professional lives.

NEXT UP: ‘Twas a Great & Lousy Year, Says Daniel Newman

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