In the first-ever ISE Keynote Address, Ingram Micro’s Gerhard Schulz encouraged integrators and distributors to add value by working together to create complete solutions. “Systems integration capabilities and businesses will take an increasing stake in the value chain and embrace substantial business opportunities,” said Schulz, who is EMEA senior vice president at the IT distributor. In the keynote, entitled ‘Blueprint for Business Growth in the Digital Age: From Volume to Value… and Beyond into Verticals’, he used the experience of Ingram Micro to highlight how the AV and IT worlds can work together as the move towards a networked future continues. The ubiquity of smart digital devices and the general convergence of technologies make it difficult to define the boundaries of the IT industry. “Applications of digital technologies have left the boundaries of computers and will penetrate every single aspect of our life and environment,” Schulz said. This has meant that rather than simply relying on sales volume, the IT channel has increasingly had to add value by providing integrated solutions, he continued. Beyond this, the next step is to move to providing solutions for specific vertical markets – such as healthcare, education or energy management. The key to generating the most value will be building positive relationships. “For us as a distributor of digital products this means adding different players to the network and facilitating collaboration within the network, ” he explained. Integrators, with their technical knowledge and awareness of the needs of different markets, will be the key to a change that is only just beginning. “We have only experienced the beginning of the digitalisation of our world,” Schulz concluded.