CI Summit 2014

This past week a number of AVNation crew were a part of the 2014 CI Summit. It is a yearly gathering of Pro AV professionals discussing the business aspects of the AV business. Here is what this AV professional learned.

Relationships… again

Like most businesses, the AV industry comes down to relationships. This was hit home again this week. One of the unique aspects of the CI Summit was the seating assignments. Like some of you, I am wont to leave my comfort zone. If left to my own devices my table-mates would have been people I knew and were comfortable with. However, the seating assignments created an out-of-comfort-zone situation for me which was great. Not only did I get to hear different perspectives there were at least three new business prospects gleaned from the new relationships. In addition, the after hours chats around the fire pits and lobby were also worth the investment of three days away from the office.

Apprenticeship

One of the sessions discussed how to get, and keep, quality employees. During the interaction the idea of apprenticeships surfaced. This is more than just an internship and a bit less than entry level techs. It is something a number of trades still do today. You bring in interested parties who have an acumen to the AV industry. You then put them alongside AV pros who can teach them the ins and outs of the business as well as infuse them with the excitement of the AV industry. This is not a job for the grizzled disgruntled rack builder one month from retirement. You would have a trained trainer who also is good at what they do and is excited to be there.

Wireless Video

Get ready. If you don’t have at least two or three solutions please get them in your arsenal. Nearly every engineer, sales, and operations director said they were getting calls multiple times a week. We are not just talking about Clickshare, but other wireless solutions. The reason for having different solutions available is that each wireless video technology uses different technologies. Some use their own proprietary network, some use the client’s wireless network, and some use a hybrid of both. It really comes down to the customer’s infrastructure.

The CI Summit, co-located with the CE Pro Summit, was a great event for me. The business contacts made as well as the knowledge from listening to others in the industry made it worth while. Next year it is in Washington, D.C. during August. When Commercial Integrator promotes the opening of the application process, and you have the time, I would certainly suggest putting your name in to go.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

 

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