One thing I think we can all agree upon is that large screen displays seem to dominate these days. This, in itself, isn’t unusual. What I call the “ooh shiny!” will always stand out and capture our attention. Nowhere is this more obvious than in large venue AV systems.
As awe inspiring as these powerful large screen images may have been, many of us tend to quickly turn our attention to the smaller screens inside the exhibits. Afterall, for most of us, our core business is in those smaller displays 120-inch diagonal or less.
Herein lies a problem we all must face: the smaller screens we sell are rapidly becoming commodities. There is an appearance of sameness staring us and our clients in the face.
Differentiation is becoming more difficult to attain and promote. As a result, our core business — or at the very least, profitability — is at risk.
Now circle back for a moment to when you entered the InfoComm show and how impressed you were with all the large venue displays. Could these be classed as commodities? I don’t think so.
Bigger Is Better… For Your Business
For decades, the meat and potatoes of the integration industry has been board rooms, conference rooms, and training facilities, most with smaller displays. We design systems with a projector or flat panel, perhaps an audio system and remote control and connect them to sources.
With the advent of plug-and-play, as well as the convergence of AV and IT, our jobs at a macro level have taken on the appearance of being less complex. Don’t get defensive.
Yes, I do know that some room-based systems are very complex and require as much engineering as in days past. If that is your core business and you can sustain it, that’s great!
But for many, the demand for complex systems is on the wane. Easy access to product information and pricing on the internet simply exacerbates the effect of the problem.
This begs the question of what to do about this trend. While there are no silver bullets, one area worth considering is to take a new look at large venue opportunities.
By definition and application, most large venue projects are more complex than smaller scale projects. This directly plays to our strengths as commercial integrators. We get to utilize our design skills, engineering expertise, customization and rack building services.
We can also flex our project management muscles; integration and maintenance agreements. In other words, we can employ the majority of our internal skills and services. The best part is that you can’t shop for a large venue system in a box on the internet.
Now that’s differentiation!
Examining the Large Venue AV Systems Opportunity
By its very nature, large venue is all about an expanded set of viewers and total impact. Think about any gathering place as a prospect. The objective is a memorable experience for the viewer.
To accomplish their objectives, the end user needs the AV systems to complement and enhance their venue. These systems might include everything from large venue displays to advanced sound systems to streaming media, and even live broadcast capabilities that help create that memorable experience.
It all about designing, building, and supporting solutions that meet the customized requirements of large venue AV systems. As one industry expert correctly notes, “these are more engineering-intensive and use more of what we can do”.
The roadmap for all to follow in the commercial AV business begins with an assessment of what each of us in our own companies can provide in the way of products and services.
How can we best utilize our resources to keep the boat afloat? There needs to be a balance of projects with some that are higher volume but due to commoditization, lower profit and others less numerous but higher profits.
It would be great if we could all live in that higher profit’s world but increasingly for most that does not realistically exist today.
Don’t abandon what you are doing if it is profitable but expand your thinking beyond the boardroom, conference room, or training room. If you are looking for more, you have to go where the more is.