InfoComm has announced that its latest UK Roundtable was the largest ever held in London. In all, some 40 invited guests attended the event. Attendees included systems integrators, distributors, manufacturers, liv-events professionals, content creators and end customers.
The Roundtable featured a panel discussion with some of the UK’s most prominent AV consultants: Blair Parkin of Visual Acuity, Mark Johnson of Mark Johnson Consulting, Chris Card of Big Picture Consultants and Ian Stickland of Charcoalblue Theatre Consultants.
The panel addressed a number of issues, including key technology and business trends, the attitude of end customers to the provision of AV systems, and whether the whole notion of ‘AV’ was still relevant to today’s (and tomorrow’s) market. The discussion was moderated by Dan Goldstein, Director of Marketing & Communications at Integrated Systems Europe, co-owned by InfoComm and CEDIA.
After the discussion, visitors divided into four tables with one consultant joining each of the tables to debate the issues further and come up with conclusions.
“The recent series of InfoComm roundtables have been a proactive attempt on the part of the organisation to localise and deal with pro-AV issues that affect us in Europe and to try to look less through the lens of the US market for the European membership,” said Blair Parkin. “The London Roundtable had a robust discussion about working with IT departments, network providers and the acknowledgment that the network is where everything connects now, so we are just going to have to get good at that.”
“I attended both Cardiff and London roundtable events,” said Andy Bonehill, CTS-D, Technical Director of systems integrator, the PAI Group. “I’d like to say what worthwhile and stimulating events that regional InfoComm Roundtables are and to encourage other members to attend in future as they give a unique insight into industry developments and an unrivalled opportunity to discuss relevant topics with one’s peers!! Certainly I came away from both events with pages of thought provoking notes.”
“Consultants act as a key interface between the integrator and the end customer, particularly on the larger AV projects,” said Nevil Bounds, sales director at broadcast and audio visual equipment integration and service provider Feltech Electronics. “The panelists had experience working with integrators on many different kinds of projects in all corners of the globe, and their perspectives were as diverse as their backgrounds. For us at Feltech, consultants offer a unique insight into projects, which does offer value at these types of events.”
“We also think InfoComm Roundtables provide very valuable and fantastic networking opportunities which we don't normally get to take advantage of at trade shows as it’s challenging to get everyone in the same place for a larger discussion,” he continued. “ At the London event, there was a good turnout of a mix of people including consultants, distributors, manufacturers, integrators who all had something to talk about and opinions to be heard. Another observation I made was that the consultants and integrators are all busy with work which is good news for the industry overall.”
Among the topics raised at the Roundtable were the need for manufacturers to provide more energy consumption and network data with their products; the importance of vendor-neutral AV, IT and network training; the economic situation and its impact on project budgets; and the importance of maintaining long-lasting relationships with clients.
“Overall we were delighted with the Roundtable,” said Chris Lavelle, Regional Manager, UK and Ireland. “As well as being a great networking opportunity, it also provided InfoComm with invaluable feedback about industry trends that would be impossible to obtain without these groups coming together under a single roof.”
The next London Roundtable will take place in November 2012.