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In Conversation with Sony’s Rich Ventura

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The new Vice President of B2B at Sony’s Imaging Products and Solutions Professional Division talks new job, the evolution of digital signage and the role of our industry organizations to keep AV thriving

Richard Ventura, Sony’s newly minted Vice President of B2B for the Imaging Products an Solution division, is four days into his new gig and clearly loving it. Many of us in AV know Ventura, having met him during his nearly 20 years with NEC Displays where he held several positions, most recently as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Solutions Development. While at NEC, Ventura focused on evolving the company’s display business and developed strategic initiatives, a deep portfolio of work that was surely attractive to Sony’s B2B division.

“I think the primary focus, especially these first 100 days is, A, getting to know the organization, getting to know the people, our strategies, getting to know our partners,” says Ventura during  our virtual sit down. “So that’s very critical, is really getting to understand our relationships, why people buy Sony and why we’re that trusted partner, and how can we do even more. Get to know the good and the bad and really find out where we can make the best impact.”

He adds, “I’d say the other big thing in these first 100 days is getting to maneuver and learn how to maneuver within an organization that I have not been part of. Twenty years with another company, you know the ins and outs. So, it’s definitely learning a new vocabulary, learning new roles and personnel. So, it’s a fun challenge and I’m pretty excited about it.”

Being the new kid on the block also comes with the challenge of getting to grips with a new set of product portfolios. While Ventura is focusing on forging relationships with Sony’s corporate, education, and government channel partners, he is also tackling learning the ins and outs of PTZ cameras, a new product segment for him, as well as Sony’s Edge Analytics platform and the role he anticipates it will play in distance learning and the company’s BRAVIA displays that comes with built-in Android players, which can have an impact in the digital signage space.

So, it’s exciting, it’s daunting, because there’s so many toys to play with, but I think it’s very opportunistic as we work with our partners and our customers, and we talk about all the different ways and all the different solutions that we have that can help them solve their pain points as they return to the office, as they want to communicate to their employees, as they want to empower business and enable communication, both remotely and doing things like distance education,” Ventura says. “I mean, all this stuff is what helped draw me to Sony. I think from a portfolio perspective, we’ve got some great technology that I’m excited about.”

As we all find a new way to define and navigate the “new normal” brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,  the display channel, especially as it relates to digital signage is being taken back to its original roots as a real-time messaging and information dissemination tool, Ventura notes, predicting that digital signage will have a massive role to play in coming out the other side of the twin health and economic crises through collaboration and innovative ideation.

“Digital signage is truly what it is, it’s signage, it’s information, and it can go to different levels,” Ventura says. “I’m excited to see how the industry steps up to this challenge, because it is a big challenge. I mean, immediately everybody says, “Well, no one’s going to be able to see a display anymore, why have digital signage?” I’m like, “You guys got to understand, it’s disseminating that information.”

As an active member of the Digital Signage Federation, Ventura, who now sits on the Former Chairman’s Council, and who also actively engages with DSE and AVIXA, believes that they will have to broaden their role as educators to help everyone in the AV industry re-emerge in the next two years in healthy standing, economically and otherwise.

“Well, one of the key things that associations always need to do is educate,” Ventura says. “Education is so critical. Whether it’s good times, bad times, it doesn’t matter, education is really critical. I know that DSF has done just an amazing job with their micro-credentials program and really getting education out to their members. AVIXA’s done the same thing, right? All of these trade associations are focusing on that and how they can deliver more education, and is it education around standards? Is it education around, like we just talked about a minute ago, non-touch interactivity? Is it education around cleaning? I think that’s going to be a really critical aspect, right, is how do we maintain clean surfaces? Is education around content strategies? Because you have a whole new content strategy than you had before and throughout education.”

Listen to the full conversation with Rich Ventura here.

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Llanor Alleyne

Llanor Alleyne is Editor-in-Chief of AVNation.tv.

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