Confidence is on the up, according to our latest survey, but some parts of the market still don’t appreciate the value of integrated solutions.
You might be surprised to learn that Ireland leads the world in attracting foreign investment. For the fourth year, IBM’s Global Locations Trends report has put the country at the top of the list of countries ranked by the value and quality of the investment they attract – putting it ahead of countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Lithuania. According to the report, these investments are for “projects in industries characterised by high knowledge intensity and economic value added, such as life sciences and information and communication technology”. This is all to the good in a country that was hit hard by the 2008 banking crisis, and has had a bumpier road to recover than many of its European neighbours.
But what of the installed AV market? We asked some of our readers in Ireland to complete an online questionnaire to give us their views. As is customary in these surveys, we asked about advice for companies entering the AV market there. Most of the comments we received here were negative: one integrator thought that a manufacturer should only enter the Irish market if it had a relationship with a company already established there, because of the difficulty of winning contracts. And, advising an integrator thinking of entering the market, one respondent said: “Look and see just how many have gone out of business here chasing an ever-decreasing market being driven by the concept that cost is everything.”
This view of the market was also borne out when asked our respondents to select the issue most of concern to their company – from a list of financial, market and technological topics. The one causing the greatest concern – almost to the exclusion of any other – was clients going for lowest price rather than best value. “Clients do not always understand what they are getting, so go for the lower price” – indicating that a degree of customer education is required in the market. This was echoed in a comment by another integrator who, when asked how they would like the industry to change, said: “Try and get the customer to realise what it is we do, and make them understand how this can help them.” Credit terms and other cashflow issues were also a concern for some.
In the light of this, we were surprised by the answer to our question about confidence levels within the Irish AV market. We asked whether these had risen, fallen or remained the same compared with six months ago: risen was the most popular choice, fallen the least. And, on a similarly optimistic note, the vast majority of respondents believed that their company’s revenue would grow by more than 5% in the next 12 months.
Vertical market sectors identified as showing the strongest growth over the coming year include corporate, education and digital signage.
The overall impression, then, is of a market where a number of challenges persist, but with sufficient growth in key verticals to keep the industry in a reasonably healthy state.