AVaaS is the Future of AV and the Econocom Buyout of BIS Group Will Trigger This First in Europe

Last week, in an acquisition that was barely mentioned by the AV trades, Econocom Group purchased 100 percent of BIS Group, an AV and Smart Buildings integrator mostly focused in the Netherlands and Belgium. And, Econocomm also purchased a 40 percent stake in JTRS,  an Apple and Google partner focused in the education market in the UK, as well as 100 percent of LP Digital in France, a digital strategy consulting firm.

Econocom Group signed an agreement to acquire 100 percent of the BIS group; you know them as the biggest integrator on the Benelux market. Of course, this transaction is subject to the approval of the Dutch competition authorities as BIS Group posted a revenue of over 50 million euros ($56 million U.S.) in 2016 and employs over 220 people. The press release about the purchases stated, “This transaction will enable Econocom to improve its position in the indoor and outdoor digital signage, conference rooms, smart building, etc.).” But, that’s not the whole story.

So, why is this a big deal? Well, this isn’t just a simple acquisition — this was extremely strategic. BIS CEO Jean Pierre Overbeek has had a clear vision for the future of AV — and he’s told me exactly what he sees — AV as a service (AVaaS), which we wrote about as a concept a few months ago. I agree with him. There’s more than one giant AV integration firms in the U.S. that is currently re-tooling their entire organizations to move totally to AVaaS. So imagine selling all AV like you sell ZOOM or service contracts now.

What’s this all mean? I had a podcast today with both BIS CEO Overbeek, as well as BIS Marketing Director Erwin Hout today to discuss — as, like I said, this acquisition signals the future is now.

Listen to the podcast below.

Gary Kayye

About Gary Kayye

Gary Kayye, founder of rAVe Publications, is one of the most prominent personalities in the audiovisual industry. He has been a contributor to WIRED magazine and a technical advisor and columnist for Sound & Communications magazine as well as an opinionated columnist for rAVe [Publications] since 2003. In addition to his writing and market analysis, Gary has been a product, marketing and business operations consultant to dozens of AV companies in the U.S. and overseas. Clients have included companies such as Sony, Sharp, Epson, Lutron, InFocus, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, NEC and Philips.   Gary, who has been involved with the audiovisual market for over 20 years, was the recipient of the InfoComm 2003 Educator of the Year Award and the 2007 NSCA Instructor of the Year Award. Over the years, he has donated much of his time as an active volunteer in the AV industry’s trade association and served as chairman of InfoComm’s Professional Education & Training Committee (PETC), chairman of the ICIA Design School Committee and chairman of InfoComm’s Installation School Committee. In addition, he has served on the InfoComm board of governors. He also helped grow the InfoComm Projection Shoot-Out as the premiere AV industry trade show special event serving on the committee from 1991 through 1997, and was instrumental in launching the Shoot-Out in the European market at the Photokina Expo in 1994 and 1996 as well as the Asian market at the 1995 and 1997 INFOCOMM Asia shows.   Prior to founding his own company, Gary was vice president of sales and marketing for AMX Corporation (www.amx.com), a manufacturer specializing in professional AV and residential AV control systems. Prior to AMX, Gary spent nine years at Extron Electronics (www.extron.com), rising to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 from the University of North Carolina and is currently Adjunct Faculty at UNC in the School of Journalism teaching a class on how future technologies will affect the future of advertising, PR and marketing.   He is also the founder of Swim for Smiles, a non-profit that raises money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital through swimming and other fitness-related events for kids. You can contact him at gary@ravepubs.com..