Everyone in the industry is talking right now about the recent announcement by Andrew Edwards of Extron. How is it that one of the largest supporters of Infocomm could back out and turn it’s back on the industry that has made it successful? My two cents on the issue is that it’s just business. Sounds harsh, but it is the reality of the situation and I don’t think it will hurt them at all.
Infocomm started before my time in the industry, but back “in the day” the way we learned about new products was fundamentally different. Before the internet, you learned about new things by experiencing them first hand, or knowing someone who has. Sure, television and video brought things together more, but the cost of distribution via TV advertising or mailing out VHS tapes(!) was prohibitive. If you didn’t get a chance to see something in person, or hear about it firsthand you really didn’t have an opportunity to learn about it and understand how it was relevant.
My how things have CHANGED! I’m not a media mogul but just being here writing on the BlogSquad will expose my opinion to not one, but hundreds of people. (I’m going for millions but you have to start somewhere…maybe you can help?) The internet has radically changed how we learn about new information and some of the old standards just don’t make business sense anymore. Some of the reasons for being involved inInfocomm just don’t make economic sense from a business perspective, and I can see how Extron recognized this:
Infocomm Benefit: Brand Exposure – Extron has a strong brand among its target customer base, and largely isn’t concerned about gaining exposure to new customers. That is the dealer and integrator’s job, and they (we) do it extremely well. They grow their business by introducing new products into a strong dealer network.
Infocomm Benefit: New Product Introduction – How many people have to go to a show to learn about a new Extron product? We know instantly via platforms such as Twitter and can watch a video of the product in a real demonstration IMMEDIATELY.
Infocomm Benefit: Customer Support – Have you been to the Extron booth at Infocomm? It’s crazy busy and hard to find anyone to talk to. On the floor it isn’t about technical information anyway, so Infocomm isn’t the best venue for this.
I don’t think that Infocomm is obsolete, but the point of a business is to deploy its resources in a strategic manner to maximize profits, and this is exactly what Extron is doing. By diverting the Infocomm expenses to more training and development, they will improve the perceived value of their brand which will ultimately help everyone.
Still, I’d like to see an Extron Lounge or something… someone tell Andrew to give me a call, maybe we can work something out…