Recently, Almo Pro A/V EVP/COO Sam Taylor participated in the InfoComm Connected 2020 LIVE Q&A with AVIXA President Dave Labuskes, following the keynote address, “A Better Normal: Reducing Friction and Finding Our Way in a Hybrid World.”
During the 15-minute live Q&A, there were more questions than time alotted — so, Sam answered some of the other questions here! This is part 1 of those responses.
This is an interview with Sam Taylor, as written by rAVe [PUBS]. It has been edited for clarity.
Q: How do you envision the changing role and importance of digital signage?
A: There is so much opportunity for the AV industry as we create this “better normal,” especially in signage. More than ever before, there’s a need for health and safety messaging: reminders to wear masks, wash hands and maintain social distancing will be with us for a while. Along with this messaging, manufacturers are working hard to build in new features that address this era: touchless monitors, displays that provide thermal scanning, displays with built-in hand sanitizing dispensers and more.
Q: Where do you see the industry going with wireless presentation solutions as so many people now need hybrid solutions and Zoom/Teams integration, etc.?
A: It’s exploding. Wireless presentation is the future. It used to be about bringing your own device to a meeting — now you can bring your own meeting (BYOM) and have your participants plug in from wherever they are, which is mostly from home these days. For example, Barco’s Clickshare Conference enables people with different platforms to utilize the same speakers, microphone and cameras for a seamless meeting. This is going to help people social distance and still have a productive discussion.
We’re also seeing more “work-from-home” hardware bundles with web-based portable speakers and professional, reliable cameras and can be used remotely from just about anywhere.
Q: As AV designers, especially working with architects, we have to be careful about advocating for digital spaces. It can help AV ride through this crisis, but it will surely dry up future work with architects. How do we advocate for our clients to feel safe in real spaces?
A: That’s a work in progress as there are still so many unknowns. This crisis is also a very personal experience, as everyone has their own comfort level about returning to a closed group environment. Virtual connection is here to stay even while in-office connection starts to return. In the short term and long run, I believe that AV designers and architects will have more work to do. Every existing office will be redesigned in some way. New builds will have to incorporate more meeting spaces that are smaller and allow for social distancing. The days of one large conference room for 25 people having a two-hour meeting are not coming back for a long time. Open area seating will have to be redesigned as well.
Q: What new tech integrations do you see going forward in a post-COVID world regarding events, AV and connectivity?
A: This is another area where our industry can shine. The show, the learning, the networking must go on, but this has forced us to be more creative in our delivery. The key is to keep the learning coming and to keep us connected and thriving together. Live and virtual events each have their benefits, so we feel it would be best to have both. Expect to see advancements and quick evolution in this arena — better connections, sleeker equipment and even holographic telepresence, in which a full-size version of a speaker is beamed into a virtual meeting or live event without the travel time and expenses.
Q: Is there a role for distributors to play in helping companies bridge the revenue gaps through creative financing options?
A: Absolutely! Distributors have already begun partnering with manufacturers to provide financial relief through creative financing options such as additional 30-day extended credit terms. This gives resellers the critical ability to keep planning ahead and pushing forward.
Q: How would you recommend integrators get into AV-as-a-Service?
A: Lean in on the supply chain! Contact your distributor. Now is the opportunity to leverage the services available through distribution to help rebuild and grow businesses. AVaaS has been a buzz term for many years, but those flexible financing and leasing options are needed more than ever because they allow for cash flow. This gives the integrator or reseller the ability to pursue larger, long-term installation opportunities as they open up, provide the latest technology, labor services and recycling/replacement options without any capital expenses.
Look for part 2 with answers to more questions, coming soon. Also, for more information on how Almo Pro A/V can support in any of the ways above, check out its AVaaS options, financing options or WFH hardware bundles.