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AVIXA Diversity Council panel: Opening up AV 

‘Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Intersectionality for Business’, a panel discussion at ISE organised by AVIXA’s Diversity Council, highlighted how technology emerged as a real enabler for inclusion after the pandemic laid bare who needed assistance and where. 

Joe Way, director, learning environments at the University of Southern California, noted that no one ever wants to say that the global pandemic was a good thing. However, he added that the introduction of national lockdowns around the world also served to highlight those who did not have access to the tools to allow them to work or study from home. 

This technology “always existed, we just kept closed minds”, Way noted. During the pandemic, more effort was made to bring this technology to the people who needed it, he added. 

Susana Alvarez, CEO of Newtech Solutions in Argentina, warned that it’s now important to ensure that societies and businesses continue to move forward, and not forget the hard lessons that were learned over the past two years. 

We have to make sure that we’re going enable a more hybrid approach, she said, “because you’re going to have people who will be on-site, and you’re going to have people who will still be virtual”.

The panel touched on a wide range of issues, including the lack of diversity in the AV industry. “Our industry is just a bunch of [people like] me”, said Way, referring to himself as a white, middle-aged man. The only way we’re going to get past that, he said, is to “find new talent that we can invest in, early on”.

“We have a lot of computer science students that don’t recognise that AV is even an opportunity,” he added. “We can’t change our industry until we have that pipeline.”

Image above (L-R): Sarah Joyce, AVIXA; Joe Way, University of Southern California; Kim Lomax, Extertis; Lara Paemen, IFMA; Rachel Hunt, Unicol; Girish Narayanan, Granteq; Susana Alvarez, Newtech Solutions