IT’s role in AV has been one of these disruptive threats. Over the past 10+ years, this change has been seen in almost everything that integration companies do – from system coordination during design to the remote monitoring and management sought by user administrators. The change itself has been steady, but the integration hasn’t been fast. In fact, it almost felt like convergence was a talking point for the first few years. The only real evidence of convergence was the addition of RJ45 to the backs of projectors (and then to just about every other device integrators install).
In the past two years, there’s been an uptick in the rate of change. As mobile devices become more powerful, and more devices gain intelligence, we see visible threats to the way we do business. One great example: new, highly disruptive video communication platforms.
For a long time, AV integrators ruled the roost for video. Installing these systems was complex; integrating them with the rest of the presentation or training space was a form of rocket science. This complexity gave AV integrators a leg up, keeping most companies from bringing implementations in house.
Now we have solutions like Cisco Spark, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom – and even newcomers like Videxio and Fuze – that make everything into an as-a-service play for users. It’s complete collaboration (not just video) that handles voice, video, messaging, presence, and more, and includes mobile app support and endless scalability for low per-user pricing. Disruptive to stay the least!
We’ve had almost 10 years to see this coming. We’ve watched IT disrupt itself, and we’ve seen mobile devices go from mere phones to nearly self-aware supercomputers that can basically do everything our sophisticated desktops can do.
During this time, we also had the opportunity to change our business models, build more recurring-revenue services, and figure out how to align with technology providers that develop as-a-service solutions (not just in video, but in content and presentation spaces). If you were on top of this, your business probably identified new revenue streams and solidified its market. If you resisted the change, then you may find yourself feeling uncertain about the viability of an integrator business model.
The tactics taken to stay relevant are metaphors for what the best businesses need to do to stay ahead of the game. Companies that have been constantly changing, paying attention to threats, and adapting to new business models have been transformative and are likely some of the best-positioned companies in the industry. This shift toward a change-ready culture is perhaps one of the most important things that business leaders can implement to help their businesses meet changing market demands.
But change-ready cultures don’t happen by accident, and they won’t happen just because you say you’re ready for the future. “Change ready” is a top-down, bottom-up philosophy that starts by recognizing and seizing the opportunities that disruptive technology and changing customer demands present.
The fact that our business is changing so fast is a mere byproduct of the world, technology, and consumer demands changing faster. Seeing the change, embracing the change, and building a company that can continue to change is the key to surviving the constant “what’s-next” surge, and perhaps thriving by carving out a little something special for your customers that isn’t just more of the same. —Dan Newman, Cofounder of V3*Broadsuite
Image by: Naypong