The timing of Clint Hoffman being elevated to CEO of Kramer USA – about a week before InfoComm 2018 – is a pivotal moment for Kramer and the AV integration industry. The manufacturer no longer wants to be known as a provider of black boxes but rather a software-centric maker of platform solutions, says Hoffman.
The shift at Kramer is a reflection of where the AV integration industry needs to go, Hoffman explains in a CI video interview conducted at InfoComm 2018.
AV/IT Convergence Is So 2001
It was way back at InfoComm 2001 when Sony introduced the first AV device, a projector with a network Ethernet connector, Hoffman says.
“From that point forward we spent the next 17 years talking about AV and IT convergence. We’re at the point now in 2018 where the technology is now changing, too.”
For Kramer, that shift means more of a focus on software.
“We at Kramer are a company that has sold a lot of black boxes that have solved a lot of companies’ problems, and we’re moving away from being this company that is providing boxes to a company that immediately and right here today sells solutions.”
Out with Black Boxes, In with Platforms
To be clear, Kramer still makes products … but those products are software-centric.
AV will move from integrating and designing a system around a bunch of boxes to something like the “Kramer platform,” Hoffman says.
“We have VIA wireless presentation and collaboration and that’s software. It happens to live in a box,” Hoffman says.
“Kramer Control, Kramer Network, an enterprise management solution. What’s happening is the hardware is actually catching up and we’re going to sell much less boxes and we’re going to start selling solutions.”
Those solutions will come in the form of “platforms,” he says.
AV will move from integrating and designing a system around a bunch of boxes to something like the “Kramer platform,” he says.
In that scenario, “I’ve got everything I need — wireless presentation, my AV is being distributed over my IP network, control, audio DSP. It all comes at one time and one solution. One platform. And that’s where we’re headed.”