In Maybe Worst Marketing Move Ever in ProAV, SMART Launches Projector Line

smart-projector-0112How does that old saying go? Something like, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

Well, that’s exactly what SMART Technologies did today by debuting its own interactive projector in the form of the LightRaise 40wi — a projector with a 0.30:1 throw ratio (ultra-short throw), 10-watt speakers, a mic input, an interactive pen-based system that’s integrated specifically for SmartBoard applications.

Many might think this is genius — but, they’d be wrong! Dead wrong.

Smart is a glue company. No matter what they think or want to be, they are a glue-manufacturer — meaning, they are part of an AV system, not the system itself. They a part of the glue that holds an AV system together. Sure, in schools, they are a giant part of it, but in reality, they need other parts to work. Clearly, SMART now thinks it’s such an integral part of a system that the company can “go it alone” and don’t need the support of the 30 or so other manufacturers out there (namely display manufacturers) that have pulled SMART along in all sorts of educational and corporate AV applications.

But, they’re wrong.

SMART just cut its sales staff by 90 percent — without even realizing it. How so? Well, in addition to the sales team SMART has employed over the years — the company’s been fortunate enough to enjoy being listed as a third party accessory and option in over 30 projector manufacturers’ literature. In addition, these same manufacturers have allowed the words SmartBoard to roll off their salespeople’s tongues as if it were an accessory cable to their own products. This ostensibly made those projector salespeople and account managers part of SMART’s own sales force.

Not any more.

SMART, by firing the salvo known as the LightRaise 40wi, has decided to go it alone.

Whoever within SMART’s product group came up with this idea just put the first nail in the proverbial coffin.

Gary Kayye is the founder of rAVe [Publications]. Reach him at gary@ravepubs.com