In the current climate of where we are as an industry — it’s easy to say that things look bleak. Budgets are being slashed to smithereens; programs are being canceled or “postponed until further notice.” Teams are being cut down to a fraction of their original size, and to top it all off, we’re all scared for the health of our loved ones.
I wanted to acknowledge that before moving on — it’s OK to be scared. It’s OK not to know what to do next. It’s OK to need a break from the bad news. That’s kind of why I’m here.
It’s comforting to know that in these times when the future is somewhat unclear, some people and organizations are pushing back. In a blog, BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings wrote, “Despite how bleak the outlook may appear today, I’m inspired by how the AV industry is responding to this crisis. We often talk about how a robust, agile AV infrastructure is critical during times of crisis — now is our moment to live up to that promise.”
He noted that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo designated four facilities in the Manhattan area to convert into temporary field hospitals. Hal Scharfman of Smart Digital Solutions designed and implemented a solution that directs patients to different areas within one of the facilities. BrightSign is donating BSN.cloud subscriptions to help Smart Digital Solutions keep the field hospitals’ content up to date.
This is just one example of how #AVgood is keeping us together. I’ve been asking around about this — and so many of you have responded with things that you or your companies are doing to make the world a better place.
The arguably most important places that need a little extra love right now are hospitals. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff are working overtime to take care of not only the influx of COVID-19 patients but other patients too. Resources are running out more than ever, and these are some examples of companies helping out.
- Almo Pro A/V is working with Bloom Energy to refurbish unused, out-of-warranty ventilators and is shipping them to state agencies and hospitals country-wide.
- Peerless-AV has created a bundled solution (the SmartMount Flat Panel Cart) to help hospitals and other healthcare stations update digital content in real-time — by connecting to a network or running via a USB flash drive.
- 22 Miles is offering its mobile wayfinding app to hospitals free of charge.
- beyerdynamic is offering its UNITE system to nurses at a New York hospital to help transmit emergency signals — and help nurses be able to hear when a patient needs them.
It’s no secret (since many of you are parents) that school is being conducted virtually right now. That’s a good thing for you UCC #AVtweeps, but it’s a challenging thing for the students, teachers and caregivers who have to work together in ways they may not be used to. That said, these companies are working to bridge the gaps in the best way they can.
- Logitech had a limited number of headsets and webcams and offered them to K-12 teachers on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- LogMeIn is expanding its Emergency Remote Work Kits to include GoToConnect (the company’s cloud phone and UCC platform) to help K-12 schools with remote learning. These kits will be extended until the end of June.
- X2O Media helped Harvard University build the HBX Live room and turned it into the company’s Virtual Classroom product. X2O is also offering free room design services and usage credits to educational and nonprofit organizations.
Helping the Surrounding Community
Of course, schools and hospitals are not the only places that need a little extra help right now. And you #AVtweeps have been making sure that there is no shortage of that in your communities.
- Innovox Audio is building face shields (alongside its usual loudspeakers) for local senior living communities in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area of Minnesota.
- AV Solutions in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has a free AV/VC helpline for any local business that needs help setting up its employees to work from home.
- Barix simplified installation of its AV-over-IP encoder and is offering new customers free audio streaming to help churches, cultural event organizers and government officials communicate with followers.
- DOOH organizations like the DS Federation, the DPAA and the OAAA are partnering with other organizations and constituencies to develop COVID-19 campaigns that encourage social distancing within different communities across America.
- CEDIA is both offering free professional development for members — and also created a new program, CEDIASTRONG, to empower and educate CEDIA members during the current pandemic climate.
- Enplug is giving new content and resources to its customers to help navigate challenges that COVID-19 has raised — including a COVID-19 Awareness App and a Browser Web Player.
- Extron is waiving the fees for its online certifications — and the company is also conducting free live instructor-led Extron Institute classes.
- AVIXA has opened its online training/education to all members — regardless of membership level (through June 12).
- Audinate (makers of Dante audio networking) is offering Dante Certification training for free.
- A new app on the market called AV Hero helps connect freelance #AVtweeps with people who want to hire them.
This is just the beginning. I hope to keep this list running for the next month — at least. And if I left you off the list, it wasn’t on purpose! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me on LinkedIn and I’ll add you to the list.
I plan on expanding on some of these in a limited series, so keep a lookout for that too.