AV Insider Spotlight : David Danto, Director for Emerging Technology – IMCCA, Industry Consultant & Analyst
Each week, I am highlighting some of the incredible people who are in the Audio Video Industry. As this blog is mostly about AV insiders, today we are profiling David Danto .
Here is a brief intro about him.
David Danto has worked in the Audiovisual industry for over 3 decades. He is currently the Director for Emerging Technology for the IMCCA and an industry consultant and analyst.
Please drop your questions in the comments below and I will make sure that he sees them.
1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
My training was in “production arts” – including Television Production, Film Production, Theater production – and the associated study of those industries and their history. Understanding how to communicate using various media and technologies helped me form a basic foundation that was extremely applicable to any collaboration field. My first job after college was for an established AV rental firm. I was able to adapt what I learned to the AV space very easily.
2.What do you think are the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry.
The AV industry is currently in a consolidation mode, transforming from an industry unto itself into more of a specialty in the overall technology industry. There are “traditionalists” who want to do things pretty much as they were done in the 1970s, and there are “futurists” who don’t even identify with traditional AV, but rather think of themselves as communication technology specialists. Finding a career path and future in such a fractured space is difficult.
3.What are the positives of working in this industry.
Understanding how people communicate and being able to translate those needs and the physical environments they take place in into successful collaborative environments is a very rewarding skill. It involves pieces of knowledge from technology, history, interpersonal communications and facility design, as well as a desire to continue to learn as new technologies emerge. For the right person it couldn’t be more exciting.
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4.What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent ?
Our industry has too many bad firms — too many integrators that have not historically performed to the level of excellence their clients deserve. Rather than do anything about this problem we have often blindly defended the space from any criticism – deserved or otherwise. There are also too many political factions – from some (not all) of the international tradeshows and industry publications that focus more on profit than their industry, to the “pay-to-play” groups that pretend to be representing end-users but instead sell access to them, to the cliques and in-crowds that have developed amongst some of the players. This specialty needs to be unified for the good of everyone’s future, yet fixing the problems doesn’t even seem to be on anyone’s agenda.
5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you.
The ideal client recognizes the need for an experienced professional to communicate with their end-users and perform a comprehensive needs assessment BEFORE selecting technologies and strategies to meet the needs. Too many clients nowadays have already made their decisions on manufacturers or technologies they want to use before they bring-in needed expertise, making it difficult to optimally meet their needs in an agnostic fashion.
6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently ?
Buy Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and Google at their IPO
7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
There is no typical workday. There are no typical users. We are an industry that needs to embrace the flexibility and diversity amongst our experts and our clients and meet each need individually. Some days I wake-up at about 7am, feed the cats, get some coffee and read my email. Some days I wake up at 4am to catch the 6am flight to a clients’ site. It never gets old (but I do wish that the airline experience hadn’t become as awful as it has.)
8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?
Firefox web browser, Office 2013 suite on a Windows 7 PC, Gmail, Cisco Spark, iPhone
9. How do you stay relevant in this industry.
· I stay relevant by shunning any preconceived notions about what this industry is all about.
· I attend many conferences and events – like CES in January, NAB in April and InfoComm in June – and find-out how emerging technologies are cross-applicable to what I do.
· I work with legitimate, end-user supporting organizations like the non-profit IMCCA (www.imcca.org) authoring session materials, presenting sessions at conferences and writing articles and blogs. (Teaching is one of the very best methods of learning.)
· I use social media of all types to stay in touch with other professionals and users and enjoy collaborating with a large network of individuals. I go out of my way to assist and support people where ever I can, because that’s how I’d want them to support me if I ever needed it.
· I work with manufacturer clients to help them develop go-to-market strategies and create advisory boards, identifying true gaps in the space and helping them develop solutions that meet the needs. This not only helps my manufacturer clients achieve success in their marketing, but also helps me help my end-user clients stay aware of what trends in technologies are around the corner.