Joel Rollins

Joel Rollins

rAVe Rental [and Staging] contributor Joel R. Rollins is the founder of Steamroller Digital and is well known throughout the professional AV industry for his contributions to industry training and his extensive background in AV rental, staging and installation. Joel can be reached at joelrollins@mac.com.

Crew Call: It’s a Jungle in Here

Have you seen the movie “Groundhog Day”? You know, the one where Bill Murray is forced to repeat one day over and over? Well, here it is a quarter past Groundhog’s Day 2021, and I don’t think any of us expected that we’d still be conducting our lives — business and otherwise — online. But […]

Crew Call: It’s a Jungle in Here

Crew Call: Event Planning During a Pandemic

Time marches on, but not fast enough. Our industry has been adept in helping clients transition from live events to virtual events, thereby keeping us all in business to some degree. However, some types of events — training, demos, straightforward business meetings — may never return to the live stage. Videoconferencing offers all the efficiency […]

Crew Call: Event Planning During a Pandemic

Redefined: New Terms to Mark the Changes to Rental and Staging

Well, change continues apace. I am a bit late in getting this article to rAVe, mostly because I am involved in my first national show since the coronavirus crisis began. And, believe me, things have changed. Now, a lot of people have predicted the decline of the rental and staging portion of the industry due […]

Redefined: New Terms to Mark the Changes to Rental and Staging

Get Ready for a Brave New World

Last week, I wrote a column that basically asserted that things had changed. Well, things have changed since then, too. In that time, many parts of the country have gone from “social distancing” to full lockdown, including my own state. So the message from my last column, which was essentially to get out there and […]

Get Ready for a Brave New World

Quarantined

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article that talked about protecting your staff from the current epidemic. A lot has changed. Obviously, the virus becoming a worldwide pandemic has thrown the industry into a tailspin. As an industry, we have spent a lot of time in the tailspin condition, as we are an […]

Quarantined

It’s a Match — How Dating Apps Can Help You Navigate Rental CRM

For a long time now, I have advocated the use of commonly available online tools to organize a rental and staging operation. Personally, I have long loved an SaaS application called BaseCamp, but there are many available tools like this one that enable us to organize our projects without having to invest a fortune in […]

It’s a Match — How Dating Apps Can Help You Navigate Rental CRM

Going Viral

There is an old saw about the Chinese character for crisis being a combination of the characters for danger and opportunity. Friends who speak Mandarin tell me that this is not true, but it is so convenient that I wanted to use it here. Please consider it quoted. Linguistic folklore or not, I believe that […]

Going Viral

Microstaging Meetings: Is Small the New Big?

If you are one of my readers (thank you) or if you are one of the many people in the rental industry that I am constantly calling for advice, you know that I have spent most of the last 18 months designing and implementing an “experience center” for a global manufacturer. The experience center type […]

Microstaging Meetings: Is Small the New Big?

Search for the King

Around 25 years ago, there was a popular video game called “Search for the King.” It featured an unlikely hero, the head of an internal corporate AV department, who quit his job and went off on a pilgrimage in search of Elvis. The game had an interesting animated opening, in which the CEO derisively summoned […]

Search for the King

Equipment Requests

Ah, September. Back to school, and, for many of my clients who are coming home from the Hamptons, back to work. For AV rental companies, in most parts of the country, business will be picking up again as their clients return to meetings. And for many of us it will be time to plan for […]

Equipment Requests

What I Learned from Bill Sharer

For some time now, I have meant to do an article about sales and marketing for rental and staging, how they are different from the rest of our industry, how they are the same and how they are changing. I was not sure when I would put this on my schedule, but this week I […]

What I Learned from Bill Sharer

You Got Drones in My Huddle Room

If you read our industry press at all (and I hope you do) you will note large numbers of articles on two subjects: 1. The “Huddle Room” and 2. Drones When two subjects like these fascinate an industry, it is almost inevitable that they combine in some way. (I consider this the “you got peanut […]

You Got Drones in My Huddle Room

Reinventing AV Rental and Staging

Last month, I spent some time in this column standing on one of my traditional soapboxes, namely that the AV rental and staging company has come to a point in the history of our industry where it becomes necessary to do some reinvention of our products and services. In my usual roundabout way, I came […]

Reinventing AV Rental and Staging

AVaaS for Rentals: The R&D Factor

For many years, the joke in the rental and staging industry has been that we exist as the unpaid (and uncredited) research and development arm of the manufacturers that we buy from. Often, we are the first buyers of new technologies for a number of reasons. First, because of the technological pressure to stay ahead […]

AVaaS for Rentals: The R&D Factor

AI: But Seriously, Folks…

OK, for the last two months I have taken a very tongue-in-cheek look at the idea of artificial intelligence and robotics in the AV industry. I got a number of interesting emails from that column, from a criticism of my “union dues” joke to a number of serious thoughts about what A.I. would do to […]

AI: But Seriously, Folks…

The Techinator

Last month, we talked about AI and robotics, how they were affecting our current electronics world and how they could affect the future of the audiovisual industry. Elon Musk recently pointed out that AI could take over the world, producing an unkillable AI global dictator and could literally spell the end of our species. He […]

The Techinator

Clippy Apocalypse

I am fairly involved in the worlds of virtual reality, robotics and artificial intelligence and have a strong interest in how they will alter the future of our industry. Our equipment is already being built in robotic factories, using artificial intelligence. But before we push ahead into a future where our “help” is robotic instead […]

Clippy Apocalypse

Winding It Up

Well, here we are again. The holidays are upon us, so it is time to pour a glass of, well, whatever a sales rep sent me for the holidays and summon my internal psychic. Each year at this time I write a final column for the year, summing up what I think the year has […]

Winding It Up

Oculus Connect 5 – The Experience

Last month, we discussed the Oculus Connect Developers Convention, a meeting I had recently attended in virtual reality. This month, I thought we would address the effectiveness of meeting in virtual reality. First, let’s discuss the event itself, which was the annual conference for Oculus virtual reality developers. For those of you who have been […]

Oculus Connect 5 – The Experience

AV=Actual/Virtual

Last week, I attended Oculus Connect, the conference for Facebook/Oculus virtual reality developers. It was one of the best glimpses I have yet seen into the uses of a new technology that will change the way we do business in industries with events or communication and collaboration with remote people (rental and staging, collaboration, education, […]

AV=Actual/Virtual

The Oldest Profession

Like many of you who are in the electronics business, I am an Amazon Prime subscriber. I’m somebody who has always searched through multiple stores to find the particular model of what it was I needed. Amazon now saves me lots of time, gets me the exact model I wanted and has it here the […]

The Oldest Profession

Speechless

Those of you who know me know that I loathe most social media, especially Twitter. I feel that Twitter has done significant damage to our language, to the point that I now get email without punctuation or complete sentences. Our universities seem to have eliminated the essay in favor of the Tweet. I actually heard […]

Speechless

Rants and rAVes — Episode 761: Almo And Insteo Bring Digital Signage Content Creation

On this special edition of Rants and rAVes, Joel Rollins is joined by Jim Nista and Jay Saret of Almo Corporation talk about Almo’s recent acquisition of Insteo. Listen to this podcast for all the details! Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: RSS

Rants and rAVes — Episode 761: Almo And Insteo Bring Digital Signage Content Creation

Mobile Apps for AV Rental and Staging

This week, I was really excited to see a new documentary, “Love Notes to Newton.” I was a die-hard fan of the very early and much-maligned Apple Personal Digital Assistant. I still have three different models of the Newton, all of which still work. The Newton was a groundbreaking product, unfortunately maybe too far ahead […]

Mobile Apps for AV Rental and Staging

Searching for Internet Cheese

In my day job, I answer a lot of people’s questions about audiovisual and virtual reality technology. In fact, lately, that’s really all I seem to be doing. And to find those answers quickly, especially when it comes to determining things like part numbers and dimensions, I turn to the source that most people use: […]

Searching for Internet Cheese

Sony’s InfoComm Video Wall Is So Good It Got Joel Rollins to Stop Talking (By Taking His Breath Away)

Editor’s note: Joel didn’t write the title of this column. I have always laughed at marketing “buzz terms” as used in our industry. In fact, I once devoted an entire column to them (Buzzards in the AV Industry, July 2010). Except today, I am going to use one myself: Breathtaking. It is simply the only term […]

Sony’s InfoComm Video Wall Is So Good It Got Joel Rollins to Stop Talking (By Taking His Breath Away)

InfoComm 2018: The Rise of the Mega-Distributors

There is an enormous amount of great new technology here this year. And you can choose to get it from fewer and fewer companies all the time. One of the things that I have commented on in rAVe for several years is the difference between the way the AV market works in North America and […]

InfoComm 2018: The Rise of the Mega-Distributors

Joel’s InfoComm Observations Day 1: Coffee (or Lackthereof) and Phone Handles

I arrived at the show this morning on the first bus at 6 a.m. thinking that I could beat the lines at the Starbucks here at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Boy, was I wrong. There were 200 people in line for coffee when I got here, and I am not a patient man, particularly […]

Joel’s InfoComm Observations Day 1: Coffee (or Lackthereof) and Phone Handles

InfoComm: A Wild Kingdom

When I was a kid, “family television” meant television to be watched by the family, and not television about families rehearsing for their court date or climbing over each other’s bodies to get to the throne. No, “family television” meant “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” hosted by noted zoologist Marlin Perkins. Each week, the show […]

InfoComm: A Wild Kingdom

When Every Shot Is a Selfie

In politics and economics, a Potemkin village is any construction built solely to deceive others into thinking that something is better than it really is. The term comes from stories of a fake portable village built solely to impress Russian Empress Catherine II (Catherine the Great) by Grigory Potemkin; the structures would be disassembled after […]

When Every Shot Is a Selfie

Lost in Virtual Space

Last month, we talked about AVaaS, (Audio Visual as a Service) and how it relates to the future of the rental and staging segment of our industry. My basic premise was that the current wave of cloud-based digital offerings has distorted our definition of the word “service,” much as social media has distorted our definition […]

Lost in Virtual Space

Defining AVaaS for Stagers

Over the last year or two, I have been reading with increasing frequency about AVaaS, or “Audio Visual as a Service.” In particular, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the writings of my friend Gary Kayye. Gary is one of the best I have ever met at analyzing a product in our industry […]

Defining AVaaS for Stagers