By: Brad Grimes, Director of Communications, InfoComm International
Every three years, InfoComm’s Board of Directors and staff craft a strategic plan to guide the association’s efforts in supporting the AV industry. The plan that will officially kick in next year (but is already taking root) took 18 months to develop. I need to emphasize that the strategic plan isn’t handed down by folks at InfoComm HQ; it is painstakingly considered, debated, revised, and ultimately approved by members of the AV industry. It usually reflects ongoing change in our market, and it’s always intended to help AV companies and professionals grow and succeed.
If there is a succinct way to describe the context in which InfoComm’s newest strategy came about, it’s this: Demand for AV experiences has never been greater, therefore the way in which those experiences are delivered must be made clear. And it’s not going to be by turning AV into an IT service.
Questions raised in other corners about who we are as an AV industry are legit. AV/IT convergence, plus the importance of AV to enterprise technology strategies, plus the centralization of decision-making in many organizations, has led to something of an identity crisis. But AV professionals, who built a strong and growing industry around the art of the possible—inventing new ways for people to see, hear, and interact with their environments—are still audiovisual professionals. They understand, like no others, the very analog experience of sight and sound, and how the right combination can result in a real and specific outcome, whether it’s entertainment, amazement, enlightenment, clear communication, or heightened collaboration.
Among InfoComm’s initiatives for the next three years are efforts to help broaden that message and act as a catalyst for the growth of AV around the world.
InfoComm and its Board, its members, and all the volunteers who put countless hours into training, certification, standards, and more, have done an excellent job growing this industry and professionalizing what AV companies do. InfoComm wants to help grow the market. Not only do we intend to raise awareness among enterprise customers about the application of expertly designed and integrated AV systems, we plan to help broaden what it means to work in AV, in order to welcome content creators, multimedia specialists, IoT companies, and others into the AV ecosystem.
What will this mean in practical terms? Well, as important as products and technical skills are to the success of the AV industry, we want to realign our content and programs to also include insight on what’s important to the market, which is solutions. The IT industry went through its own evolution from selling products to selling solutions. The AV industry has started down that path, and it’s InfoComm’s goal to help with the process, through fresh, solutions-based education, market intelligence, and more. This is the, “they don’t want a drill; they want a hole” mindset. We can’t always lead conversations with products and technologies; there has to be a shift toward the language of solutions and outcomes that today’s customers speak.
Along the way, we’ll also work on InfoComm the association to make sure, for example, that membership delivers the right value and resources necessary to support the market in its evolution. That our June show, which so many identify with, includes new features, content, and opportunities to initiate the right conversations with decision makers, who want the most from their AV investments.
I’ve worked in and around IT, and I’ve found that AV is way more fun. And when people walk through Times Square, for instance, they realize AV is fun, too. But excitement will only get us so far. To grow a vibrant market for AV solutions, it’s time to focus on solutions, outcomes, and experiences. InfoComm plans to help create the lens through which customers see what’s possible with AV.