Hello to the rAVe World! I am told that many of the readers of this publication are manufacturers reps and integrators. That is good, because I am calling all of you out right here, right now.
You may want to do some homework before reading any further. I wrote a blog about this in April, called “Over Here, Over Here.” In that blog, I started to call out the manufacturers and question why they were not calling on me, and my colleagues at other institutions. The morning after my blog was published, my phone was ringing. Mark Coxon, another blogger here at rAVe was on the other end of the line. He was calling both to touch base with me as he is a sales rep for Chief, and to talk in general about the blog. You can, and should, check out his blog “The DMZ for Direct Sales People,” in reply to my blog and the comments that ensued.
I think that @avphenom is correct in the assessment he made in his blog. Essentially, manufacturers are afraid to call directly on customers, as they have customers who will get mad at them. I can confirm that reaction. I remember on more than one occasion when an integrator suggested I NOT travel to manufacturer sites to get training. I also remember times when an integrator was clearly upset when I told him I had spoken with a manufacturer. In this case, it was at the very beginning of the Crestron A+ program. This integrator was confused and frustrated that I was visited directly.
So, let’s get it all out on the table. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Integrators have seen some (much) of their business disappear in terms of installs and design. Many people have been writing about this for years, and giving you suggestions and hints for where you should be looking to increase your bottom line. Instead, some integrators have held onto the old model — that all control needs to go through them. They are scared and, rather than change, hold onto the past.
As a tech manager, end user, whatever you want to call me, I think this is a bad practice. Why? Because as manufacturers, if you have superior products, you are not telling ME about them. Also, as I wrote in a comment to Mark’s blog, I don’t care to buy directly from manufacturers. I am perfectly happy to continue to buy from my local integrator.
Moving on. By the time you read this we will be heading towards mid-May. That means that those of us who are planning our classroom work for the summer, are smack dab in the middle of designing them all right now. In a month, when we see you at InfoComm, it will be too late. Most of look at InfoComm at the things we will be using NEXT year. So, manufacturers, here is a list of things that all of us technology managers are interested in, and want to hear what you are offering for products:
- Class Capture Solutions
- Web Based Video Conferencing
- HD Base T
- Filterless Projectors
- Lampless Projectors
- Streaming Video
- Video over IP (or, internally moving video around a space on the Ethernet network)
- Any Ethernet controlled product
- All the things we don’t know even exist
So, as I offered in my blog, I will offer again in this column. Call me. I will answer the phone and I will be polite. Just ask @avphenom. I will be willing to meet with you and some of my colleagues around the state at the same time, if that helps you save time. If you need my phone number, send me a private tweet @stiner and I will send my number to you. Oh, and bravo to those manufacturers who have reached out to me, both before and after my blog, Crestron, AMX, Extron and Chief.