5 Technology Opportunities for AV/IT — Trends from SYNNEX Top Tech Day

Top Tech Day

Did you catch SYNNEX’s latest LAVNCH event, Top Tech Day, this Wednesday? Yes or no, we tuned into all the live sessions to bring you this story on the technology opportunities, products and solutions of 2020, 2021 and beyond.

Among Top Tech Day’s presenters, moderators and panelists included SYNNEX Vice President of Product Management Sandi Stambaugh; SYNNEX SLED Vertical Alliance Manager Mike Gambrell; SYNNEX Public Policy Manager Brent Odom; SYNNEX Education Program Manager Will Reid; and SYNNEX Program Manager for Healthcare Tara Hutsell Brown.

Kicking off the first session and panel, Gambrell asked, “How has telehealth changed since COVID-19?” Brown responded that COVID-19 changed telehealth tremendously — catapulting it forward 10 years. Telehealth was even mandated by the CDC, and CARES Act funding allowed providers to receive 100% of their usual fees for telehealth services. Patient-satisfaction scores, which affect how providers are reimbursed, are up 87%, Brown reported. More on Brown’s findings can be found here.

Gambrell continued with his next question: “What are some of the biggest hurdles you see in school districts today?” Reid said that COVID-19 created a paradigm shift, even in the traditional education space, and things have changed drastically — with most students and teachers now familiar with some form of remote learning. From this point forward, students will be required to learn remotely — even during a snow day, Reid joked — which has shifted the way we now approach education and the challenges around it (like asynchronous and synchronous learning). More on Reid’s perspective can be found here.

Continuing on, Gambrell asked Odom, M.Ed., “How are CARES Act funds being used to reopen public spaces and buildings?” Odom said that SYNNEX did a great job being forward-thinking in response to understanding federal stimulus packages, CARES Act funding and overall policy changes. Regarding federal stimulus funds today, we’re seeing 50 different states doing 50 different things, Odom explained. CARES Act funding was the third package out of four, and the federal government is not micromanaging the funds that are going to states. More on Odom’s learnings can be found here.

So what were some of the products, solutions and opportunities discussed during the day?

Opportunity #1: Digital Signage in Healthcare and More

Brown argued that digital signage in healthcare was vastly underutilized during COVID-19’s peak. She added that digital signage has been an excellent solve for patient and visitor wayfinding, as layouts of hospitals have begun to change. Ben Watkins of LG also described the growth he’s seeing in direct-view LED for digital signage. LG’s 130- and 136-inch all-in-one dvLED, for example, includes everything in the box that you’d need to set up on-site in only two hours. Samsung’s Shari Sentlowitz has also seen that the way customers are wanting to use digital signage has changed. It’s not just about showing promotional messages anymore — we’re seeing an increase in using displays on mobile carts, in window displays, etc., Sentlowitz added. Signage is now being paired with other technology to show occupancy counts and other messages we didn’t prioritize in the past. Brown, Watkins and Sentlowitz all see digital signage as a top tech solution that will continue to grow past the pandemic.

Opportunity #2: E-Rate Programs in Education

Reid explained the potential for utilizing E-Rate programs as we move forward in upgrading our technology systems in education. There were so many personal devices purchased during COVID-19 for at-home learning, Reid continued, school districts are now trying to update their networks to accommodate them. Education will only continue adapting. It’s an exciting time, Reid said, because there are so many opportunities out there for new and upgraded technology in education.

Opportunity #3: Touchless (and Self-Sanitizing Touch) Options

In healthcare, Brown is seeing technology solutions like touch screens, monitors and technology devices that self-clean — utilizing UV sanitation, in some cases. While interest in touchless technology continues to grow, Brown argued there’s still a big opportunity for touch-screen options that utilize self-sanitizing on, say, kiosks, ATM machines, ICU screens, nursing keyboards, digital signage and more.

Opportunity #4: Collaboration Displays, Cameras and UCC Presentation Systems that Aid in Hybrid Learning/Working

NEC’s George Borden explained how NEC is differentiating on-premise and off-premise environments to better look at the technology evolution holistically. Keeping this distinction in mind, UCC solutions and wireless presentation systems aid in content sharing and group collaboration in the hybrid workplace and education environment — where some parties are at home, and some are in person. Tim Hunnicutt of Panasonic discussed how he thinks we’ll be in this new hybrid environment for some time. Panasonic’s new PressIT (pronounced “press it”) offers simultaneous sharing in full HD 4K on up to four screens. Panasonic has also introduced bundles taking existing components — like projection and displays — but reorienting them, repositioning them in the room for instance, to the hybrid situation at hand. This goes way beyond education and corporate America too, Hunnicutt added.

Opportunity #5: Technology for Health and Safety Protocols — And Yes, that Includes Analytics and Surveillance

All school districts, workplaces and verticals are handling health and safety protocols differently. Technology can help define the systems and processes for these protocols. Take temperature-screening digital signage: Our temperatures are being screened as we enter buildings today, but what’s the next step after that happens? Brown questioned. Do we head right, turn left, report to the next person? There’s a big opportunity here to add more technology within these protocol systems to better the process step-by-step — and yes, that includes using things like digital signage to trigger content for surveillance and occupancy-counting (e.g., helping keep people safe).

TL;DR — Top Tech Day Takeaways + Homework

SYNNEX VISUALSolv Top Tech Day set to cover the latest ProAV, digital signage and security products that fueled 2020 and will continue impacting AV systems in 2021 and well beyond.

  • In the kickoff session, Gambrell as moderator and SYNNEX vertical experts Odom, Reid and Brown recapped market opportunities identified during the VISUALSolv LAVNCH series — in applications like education, healthcare and public policy. We learned about current landscapes of state and local governments, then talked briefly about budget forecasts amid the pandemic.
  • Next, an expert vendor panel — moderated by SYNNEX’s John Doar — brought us insights from LG, NEC, Panasonic and Samsung. As SYNNEX partners, these manufacturers shared their perspectives on the strongest approaches to meeting end user demand today, also discussing some of the best AV solutions supporting our progress toward a post-COVID-19 world.
  • Lastly, Josh Aldridge, an industry-certified lead engineer at SYNNEX, wrapped up Wednesday’s final live session, sharing his teams’ top designs and perspectives. Everyone’s favorite year, 2020, brought more disruption to the market than any year prior; Aldridge’s session revealed some of the technologies and services he’s seeing emerge as the most popular — like digital signage, surveillance, improved audio and behavior sensing.

SYNNEX Josh Aldridge

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There is (and will continue to be) a need for integrated technology that can keep up with constantly shifting demands. Maybe that means our home spaces will become more like our workspaces. Solutions can be found in SYNNEX’s attention to the defining verticals of public safety, education and regulated industries like healthcare, among others. Wednesday’s event featuring SYNNEX subject matter experts and external vendors offered great perspective on the current and future landscape of the top technology we’re seeing play out.

Which solutions stood out to you?

In case you missed it, we’ve recapped these SYNNEX LAVNCH events so far. (Consider this your homework.):

Day 1 (July 8): SYNNEX VISUALSolv Healthcare Day: In Case You Missed It
Day 2 (July 22): Didn’t Catch SYNNEX COLLABSolv Education Day? Here’s What You Missed
Day 3 (Aug. 6): 5 Things You’ll Learn on SYNNEX VISUALSolv Education Day
Day 4 (Aug. 20): Sneak Peek: 5 Things to Look Forward to on SYNNEX’s Next LAVNCH Day
Day 5 (Sept. 9): SYNNEX VISUALSolv Public Spaces Today: Laura Davis-Taylor and the Safe Place Process
Day 6 (Oct. 8): What’s Next for 2020-21? Learnings from SYNNEX’s Latest of the LAVNCH Days
Day 7 (Oct. 21)*: 5 Technology Opportunities for AV/IT —Trends from SYNNEX Top Tech Day (*You’re reading this right now!)
Day 8 (Dec. 2): And That’s a Wrap(up)! Highlights from the SYNNEX LAVNCH Days

There’s one more SYNNEX LAVNCH event teed up for Dec. 2. Registration for COLLABSolv ”Top Tech Day” will open soon. Keep an eye open for registration on SYNNEX’s Twitter page and at https://theraveagency.com/lavnch-days/synnex-collabsolv.