Dear Scott Tiner,
Thank you for your article on AVaaS, which makes the entire AV ecosystem, including manufacturers, distributors, system integrators and end-users even more aware of the changing AV industry. As one of the driving forces behind the AV as a Service approach in Europe, I trust you understand I don’t fully agree with you.
A lot of my companies customers have also proven not to agree with you, choosing for our AV as a Service concept since we introduced this model the last year and a half. AV as a Service (AVaaS) might not be the solution for everybody, but to state this concept doesn’t make sense just isn’t correct.
More than financial or operational lease
Your approach to the financial side of AVaaS seems to be missing some essential and key components. First of all, if the life cycle within the same end user of the technology is somewhat shorter, there is the benefit which is called residual value, and a circular approach in which the same technology has a second life. Secondly, I completely agree with your approach that AV as a Service should not be a straight forward financial or operational lease, it has to be a full package though, with the right solutions and the right services combined, in order to positively surprise the end user with these AV solutions.
As one of the leading AV system integrating companies in Western Europe, this year alone, close to 20 percent of our total revenue is attributed to AV as a Service. Per year, we deploy approximately 5,000 meeting rooms a year — that counts up to 50,000 installations over the past twenty years. I’ve seen this industry adopting new technology over and over, becoming more mature every passing year. I feel very secure to state change has never been at a speed we’re experiencing right now.
AV and correlating IT solutions might just be ‘tools’ to provide easy and professional communication. But with all other office and digital workplace solutions not being purchased by our end users, why should AV be any different? Software is mostly offered as a service, company cars are leased, printers and copiers are never (!) bought, most premises are rented instead of purchased. Did you purchase your company smart phones?
Keeping up with change
The workplace environment is changing fast, technology is the driver of the core of many a business. Do you truly believe current AV technology is able to provide the same experience seven years from now? We are migrating to a software-defined AV world, security is essential, the need for solutions supporting activity-based working is an important trend. Try and keep up with all that when not refreshing your AV. Our way of working changes, we’re looking at an AI-infused future. I have a strong conviction we need to adapt to our changing environment and stop believing AV solutions will last a decade. It is very clear — they won’t.
Thanks again for opening up this discussion. Let’s keep in touch and see in a few years time what’s happened.
Al the best,
Jean Pierre Overbeek, CEO BIS Group & CDO Econocom Netherlands