Sarah Joyce, chief global officer, AVIXA, has written an exclusive piece for Installation, in which she discusses the future of the industry and ruminates on its ability to adapt, evolve in light of the coronavirus pandemic…
Change, pivot, adapt. These are the words that each and every one of us are living by during this time. From our personal lives and connections to the outside world, to the way our businesses and careers have adjusted; the companies that we once worked for are no longer the same. From budget modifications to market pivots, or furloughs to career changes, we have all changed and been changed. As I write this, many of us have been impacted by more than a global pandemic. We are not only witnessing but living through social change that is unfolding around the world. This reaches beyond politics and is, in my view, making us re-assess our contributions, roles and sense of personal and collective purpose.
How Have We Adapted?
Within the industry, everyone is having to re-evaluate their strategies, 30/60/90-day go-to-market plans, how to engage customers, and the changed demands of the supply chain.
The demand for AV technologies has grown exponentially during these months of lockdown, particularly the use of video. This growth has been from platforms and software-driven tools with very little hardware required. The growth of AV is reinforced by a cyclical effect where greater demand means more implementation, which in turn drives more adoption. It has necessitated the need for strong infrastructure, security, and flexibility.
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There is always value in AV as a Service because there are so many connection points in company offices and home offices all around the world. This is a huge burden on an enterprise’s help desk, particularly in a timeframe when companies do not want that overhead. Managed services can be outsourced, which makes it easier to scale.
Unfortunately, many businesses and sectors of our industry have suffered greatly. Our industry is creative, innovative and responsive, and will come back stronger than ever. We’ve seen many examples of government support and lobbying around the world that recognizes the importance as well as economic value of industry. The impact on the workforce is deep, and we have seen a huge response for upskilling and cross skilling.
The Future of Experiences
Safety measurements as we re-enter into public spaces will affect nearly every industry. In spaces like transportation hubs, digital signage won’t simply tell you what gate your flight leaves, but the safety procedures travelers must adhere by. Retailers will work to make the in-store experience one worth venturing out for, and venues will be looking for ways to bring communities back together in socially- distant, yet communal ways.
Always remember it is about the experience. It is how content, space, and technology combine to create the most enriching experience. When space is not necessarily the same physical space, how do you embrace that to bring broader value and experience?
As stores, hotels, and other venues all open again, they are going to be attempting two things in parallel. One is to ensure and validate those who are in those establishments have made good decisions about being there. Two, they’ll need to go even further to enhance the patrons’ experience of being in those spaces versus opting to make online purchases or reduce travel. The same goes for sporting events. How do you entice fans to head to the stadium instead of watching the game from home on TV? For each and every one of these, there is now a driver to encompass a level of safety into the experience. People simply will not go anywhere they don’t feel safe and although safety cannot be controlled everywhere – the environment created can be.
Where the Opportunity Lies
There will be enormous opportunity for the AV industry as we continue to adapt in a COVID and post-COVID world. Since the 18th March, AVIXA made our online education catalogue available to the AV community. It has been well received with nearly 100,000 classes taken. We’ve delivered numerous virtual events and webinars around the world and are about to hold our first virtual trade show InfoComm 2020 Connected on 16th to 18th June. It comes back to the relationship between content, space and technology; ensuring we deliver our mission of serving as the trusted hub for the AV industry and acting as a catalyst for global market growth in the AV industry.
It is this continued growth and the industry’s ability to innovate that makes us primed for what’s next. We are an industry of technologists, artists, and experts. We drive the connection of the physical and digital space and deliver on human connection and experience around the world. AV was made for what’s next.