The Largest AV Contract in Europe

avex videlio ec

Beginning January 2022, the European Commission awarded Avex and Videlio a four-year contract as the audiovisual provider of event facilities for all types of EU summits and events. While some industry press noted the award, the significance becomes clear when the EC highlights this as the single biggest award the EC has ever given. Ever.

Avex and Videlio, working together, will not only be supplying all the essential conferencing technology (such as audio support, interpreters’ equipment, and discussion and conference solutions) but will also be supporting the online and hybrid events and conferences. And they are integrating augmented and virtual reality as well as introducing new ways of communication during online live events.

We’re talking about hundreds of meetings across the EU countries. Some of these meetings are ad hoc but the EC expects this contract to be worth 40-50 million euros across the next four years. We’re talking hundreds of events a year with 10-15 larger ones and a number of virtual events — all across the geography of the EU.

That makes this deal Europe’s single largest AV order. Maybe the largest in the world unless somebody has another contender? (Write me if you know of a bigger one.)

The big win came about this way: In the last EU Framework contract, a much smaller order, Videlio had the role of lead supplier; in this “waterfall” contract, Avex picked up wherever Videlio left off. As that EC contract was ending and a new bid went out, the EU realized the world had changed very much. Of course, the pandemic had increased virtual events and raised questions about newer forms of conferencing technology, but also video and streaming have become our dominant form of institutional communications. Their AV needs had expanded.

It became the Big Deal.

And companies all over Europe entered the bidding. The incumbents (Videlio and Avex) put their heads together. An idea came along that would turn out to be a 50-million-euro idea: They would join forces and work together as one to thwart the competition.

Schaddelee AVEX and Durieux Videlio

[Left] René Schaddelee, CEO, AVEX International and [Right] Guillaume Durieux, CEO, Videlio

They built a strategy to go for gold. It took an Olympic amount of preparation and three months. Behind the strategy was a key component for the success. Rene Schaddelee, CEO of Avex told rAVe EUROPE, “We had already worked with Videlio and trusted each other. This trust was crucial.”

Both are members of GPA. A confederation of AV integrators, GPA (under their tagline: Think global, act global) encompasses 27 Regional Business Units (RBUs) with localized delivery capability in 49 countries globally. Together they have more than 4,000 employees, and well over $1 billion in annual AV/UC-related revenues.

“Without GPA I doubt we would have won,” notes Schaddelee. Our strategy very much depended upon the international presence and resources that GPA provide us. We weren’t just offering sub-contractors and I think the EC responded to that.”

Another successful part of the strategy required Avex/Videlio to convince the EC they could future-proof the service by being au courant with the latest meeting technologies. Sure, you sell the steak and not the sizzle but if you get both in the same deal … well, the EC decided to bite and awarded the contract.

After hearing the result, the partners met in Paris to celebrate the award — not under the Arc de Triomphe but certainly in an act of triumph. There are small awards and there are large awards.

Vive la différence.