Widgets Magazine

Hanging with AVI Systems

This week AVI Systems held their first national sales meeting. It was a chance for their 18 offices to gather in one location, Minneapolis, and learn about the state of the industry, trends in technology, and what their customers are looking for. It was also an opportunity to bring together manufacturer partners to display their latest wares. The gathering had the groovy theme of “Come Together”. I think that fit it quite well.
State of the Industry
The first day of the conference was dedicated to the staff of AVI Systems specifically. If you are not familiar with this integrator, they have been around for about 40 years or so. They have endured the ebbs and flows of the economy and shifts in technology. The company is employee-owned which is unique in the AV industry for integrators. InfoComm chief, David Labuskes, stepped up as one of the first speakers that morning and gave a sobering statistics about where the US market is heading compared to the global AV market. This was the prediction that the China AV market will most likely eclipse the US market by the end of 2016. Labuskes also focused a good portion of his talk on the challenges our clients present and ways to meet those challenges. This can be cloud-based control, network security for AV, or the dreaded “good enough”.
Customer Expectations
Kirsten Nelson, Josh Srago, and I moderated a couple of customer panels. One panel was from corporate and healthcare the other came from the government and higher education market. During both panels we inquired about what made a system great, what they were looking for, and what their biggest challenges were. The biggest take away for me was that everyone is looking for that magical “easy” button. The problem is, everyone’s button does something different and makes life “easy” in a completely different way. It is a reminder to being the conversation with your client as early as possible in the process. You may indeed be able to create that easy button for your client. Just don’t get caught in the trap that you can copy and paste the button into the next client’s project and expect it to succeed.
Mini Tradeshow
The last part of the conference were presentations and trade show floor booths. These were not the 100,000 square foot facilities of CEDIA, InfoComm, or ISE. There were some notable creative spaces such as Kramer’s Kitchen motif, QSC’s miniaturized booth from InfoComm, and Harman’s big booth in a small space booth. The best part was watching the manufacturers explain to those front line sales professionals the features and benefits of using their product. There were also a fair amount of AVI Systems clients there as well and they were able to go back and forth with the manufacturers. I have found that to be a great source of market research for manufacturers.
With a diaspora spread across the U.S., it is good to see companies like AVI Systems gather their folks together to give a common goal and vision for the company. They have some great and exciting things coming down the pipeline. They are building a training facility near their corporate headquarters in Eden Prairie, MN. You read that right, an integrator is building a training facility for their employees. This is huge. They will be staffing it with their employees as well as bringing in adjunct instructors as well. I’ll be interested to watch them-*over the next few years to see how some of these initiatives play out.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

Comments are closed.