Goodbye to 2014

2014-clock-1214By David Danto
IMCCA

As the end of the year is quickly approaching it’s time for me to write my holiday blog for the IMCCA.

Three years ago I wrote some funny New Year’s resolutions for our industry. Two years ago I focused on some funny predictions. (Remember the one about the entire country of Norway resigning from Cisco? I wasn’t serious about that one — you guys didn’t have to go and do it just ‘cause I said so.) Then last year I put the comedy aside and provided a preview of the 2014 CES. So the question was, what I should write this year for my colleagues at the IMCCA?

Another set of anonymous resolutions for others in the industry seemed like a good idea at first, but when I started writing them they turned into something more self-serving than industry serving. (I resolve to not write any more open letter blogs to people I disagree with… I resolve to learn the proper way to use social media and communications: Facebook for personal chats with friends, Twitter for news updates and comments, LinkedIn for professional work, email to contact people… I resolve to never again misquote people on Twitter to stir-up-people for my own gain…) It was bringing up memories we all chose to turn the page on and turning out to be too bitter for the holiday season. So that idea was out.

I thought about predictions for a while — what companies I felt would have good years and bad years in 2015 and what funny things I could say about some of the notable characters in our industry. Sadly though I’m feeling that the friendly atmosphere we used to have amongst our industry’s players has waned a bit. I’m afraid that if I make a joke about one manufacturer and not another they’ll feel picked-on instead of honored and send me a nasty note.  I’ve personally resolved not to get any more nasty notes in 2014 – so that choice was out too.

I am of course still going to and covering CES in a couple of weeks. Plenty to talk about there — the phenomenon of wearables (wearable — derived from an obscure Latin root that means get rich by charging people a lot of money for devices that they don’t really need because they feel cool strapping status symbols to their bodies); the emergence of Quantum Dots; the next generation of sensors and the IoE — like I said, plenty. But I’d rather wait till I’m there to tell everyone what I’m actually seeing. I’ll be tweeting of course and updating my notes daily at this website here.

So, as it turns out, the best use of my end-of-year message would be some general observations about our industry — both those above and these:

  • After 15 years, AV/IT Convergence is still a hot-button topic for way too many people on all sides. Thank you to the team at InfoComm and my colleagues at the IMCCA that have invited me to open a public dialog on this topic.  More details on that later, but if it’s a topic you’re interested in please plan on being in San Jose in March.
  • The end-user experience is finally king. Just about as a whole, our industry has stopped talking about bits and bytes and speeds and feeds, and instead is concentrating on how users interact with our technology.  Marketing hype like “travel avoidance” is also riding into the sunset. We’ve stopped selling and recommending technology for technology’s sake and start focusing on people. This is a fantastic thing. It’s happened because the technology managers and business leaders that are buying the products and services are now more educated and savvy than ever. It’s been a pleasure meeting and working alongside so many of them this year. I couldn’t be more proud of the current generation of user-experts in our industry. While some integrators and manufacturers have been slower to embrace change than others I’m absolutely sure this next generation of clients and customers will steer our industry to the future.
  • More consolidation and transformation is coming. Our business and consumption models are continuing to change very rapidly. Evolve or die are still the only two options for integrators and manufacturers. As I said earlier this year, feel free to blame the messenger if that makes you feel better, but it won’t help you avoid the future. Look around at the firms in our industry. Are they growing or shrinking? Which start-ups have been successful — and why? This stuff is all out in-front of everyone to see if they choose to look at it.

And finally, as I’ve said many times before, there is nothing more important in your professional life than your network. I am so grateful for the people I’ve met and worked with over my career. They — not their companies — are the lifeblood of our industry. The privilege of knowing them and working alongside them when the opportunity presents itself is its own reward.

Here’s to a 2015 filled with health and happiness, peace and prosperity — for you, your loved ones and your organizations.

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This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions. David has over three decades of experience providing problem solving leadership and innovation in media and unified communications technologies for various firms in the corporate, broadcasting and academic worlds including AT&T, Bloomberg LP, FNN, Morgan Stanley, NYU, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase. He now works with Dimension Data as their Principal Consultant for the collaboration, multimedia, video and AV disciplines. He is also the IMCCA’s Director of Emerging Technology. David can be reached at David.Danto@Dimensiondata.com or DDanto@imcca.org and his full bio and other blogs and articles can be seen at Danto.info. Please reach-out to David if you would like to discuss how he can help your organization solve problems, develop a future-proof collaboration strategy for internal use, or if you would like his help developing solid, user-focused go-to-market strategies for your collaboration product or service.