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Pro AV Watch List pick Nancy Knowlton on the future of AV

Nureva CEO considers the influence of IT and customers on the AV industry

What would you say are the most significant changes / developments in the industry during your time?
The most significant change through my time in the industry has been the movement of AV much closer to IT. Early on, AV installations were much more custom or small-scale. Now, with more off-the-shelf compatibility, lower price points, greater ease of use and higher user tech fluency, solutions are being much more broadly deployed.

What personal, professional achievements are you most proud of?
Our prior company, SMART Technologies, changed so much of what happened in K-12 classrooms around the world. The SMART Board interactive whiteboard was a transitional technology that helped teachers make the shift from analog to digital, a shift that continues today with additional applications, content and technologies.

We are aiming to do the same thing with our unique technology approach in the audio space.

I am very proud of the people who developed their knowledge and skillset at SMART and who have moved on to found, lead and/or contribute at other leading technology companies.

Do you have a philosophy you live by professionally? And how has it helped your career and those you have worked with?
My personal philosophy is based on respect, integrity and continuous learning. I have enjoyed the full range of people with whom I have worked, I respect their perspectives and contributions, and I strive to learn every day in order to stay relevant.

Pre-Covid, what would you say were the biggest areas of technological or operational challenge to AV?
The biggest area of challenge for AV, as with many industries, is making changes before the need to change is forced on it.

What needs to change in the industry?
The industry needs to continue to move closer to IT. Engagement within many customer organisations now is fully within the IT department. We should be respectful of their perspective and consider changing our industry reference to AV/IT. It may seem like a superficial change to many, but it is a strong signal that the industry has indeed adapted to changing times and customer perspectives.

In your opinion, what will be the biggest drivers of change in AV in the next 5 years?
Customers will ultimately be the big drivers of change in the industry. Addressing their needs and wants will cause all of the players to work better together and to develop expanded ecosystems.

Finally, what would your message be to those starting out their AV careers?
Focus relentlessly on the customer. Listen to their needs and work tirelessly to deliver solutions that anticipate their evolving requirements.