2018 will be a big year for the AV User Group, with chairman Owen Ellis setting out some ambitious growth plans, which includes further international expansion and adding more value to the AV industry, its members and sponsors
In an exclusive interview with AVTE, Ellis – now in his first full year as a full time employee for the AV User Group – is eager to accelerate his ideas – something he’s confident he can achieve with the Group now being his sole focus.
“My ambition is to carry on growing the AVUG as far as we possibly can,” said Ellis. “Now that I have more time, I can be much more focussed. I can go and see my members and sponsors and ensure we’re providing the value they crave.”
The AV User Group is currently preparing to extend its reach into San Jose, California, with the first of two meetings scheduled to take place in April this year. The second is expected to take place in October.
We've been in talks for around two months now and either one of them could potentially turn into a User Group opportunity this or next year
The launch will bring its number of markets to four (including London), having already expanded to New York (2012) and Hong Kong (2016). 300 of its current 700-membership list include personnel living overseas.
Ellis revealed, without naming names, that he is already in early exploratory discussions about potentially launching the AV User Group in two new countries.
“These aren’t locations I originally targeted,” said Ellis. “They’ve come out of the blue through networking with people globally who have reached out to me. We've been in talks for around two months now and either one of them could potentially turn into a User Group opportunity this or next year.
“It’s very exciting that alongside opening up in San Jose, we have these irons in the fire.”
But growing locations isn’t the only focus. Providing more value to members is key to Ellis and the AV User Group.
Internationally, Ellis is keen to provide the same benefits it offers in the UK – benefits such as hosted trips to events like ISE in Amsterdam.
“That’s high on my list of priorities to try and get the revenue to a point where we can offer those benefits in the other locations we operate.”
He is also keen on providing valuable published insight, research and information on best practice across different areas of AV to its members and the end user community as a whole.
Early discussions have already begun with several unnamed industry personnel around producing content, which would be vetted, approved and endorsed by its members.
The financial model and finer details are yet to be realised – but Ellis is confident of getting something off the ground this year.
“I personally want to use the group to help educate and benefit our industry,” he explained. “That’s something I think we might have the potential to do here.
“I believe that if we issued something around best practice, it would be something that’s taken very seriously and respected.
“It’s a huge thing to get into and there are so many topics to cover. I’ve already got some ideas on where to start.”
The AV User Group is to hold its annual regional members meeting on January 17th during the PLASA Focus show in Glasgow, January 17th.
Details on the event and how to register can be found here.
To read our full interview feature with Owen Ellis and his plans for the AV User Group, please sign up to receive our complimentary AV Technology Europe magazine either in print or digital.