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Exclusive: Epson vice president speaks to Installation magazine

Massimo Pizzocri, vice president, video projector sales & marketing division, Epson Europe, on Covid, projection verses pro display, ISE, and the Euros

Massimo Pizzocri, vice president, video projector sales & marketing division, Epson Europe exclusively speaks to Installation.

What do you bring to the role of VP?
I dislike when people say I’m in charge. I dislike when people say I am responsible. I love when people say I take care. Put simply, what I bring to the role of vice president is that I bring myself as a person. I will continue to take care of our customers and of our people.”

How did you start out in AV and what advice would you have to those climbing the ladder?
My career at Epson started 21 years ago and I’ve had the pleasure of covering many roles, each with a significant crossover into projection. AV helps people to communicate and connect – but with Epson’s professional display technology, people are given a solution to more specific requirements across everything from immersive experiences or concerts to lecture theatres, museums and so on.

Our Professional Display technology is helping to improve the quality of people’s lives and it’s the most effective display solution for the square meter ratio that’s so often required by live entertainment, visitor attraction and education sectors. No other technology can beat this.

Throughout my career, I’ve simply stayed focused on helping Epson to do better, and even as the market leader I still believe we can do better. This is my personal goal and would be my advice to others.”

What’s the pandemic been like for you – both personally and professionally?
I live in Lodi, Italy, which is where the first case of Covid-19 was discovered in Europe after the outbreak in China. For 20 years now I’ve volunteered for the Red Cross as an evening/night-time ambulance driver. Personally speaking, the pandemic raised a difficult question as to whether I should stop driving the ambulance after 20 years and stay at home, or put on my mask, safety glasses and gloves and continue to do it. I concluded that I had no choice other than to continue to drive the ambulance throughout the lockdowns and I still do to this day.

Professionally speaking, it was a challenge in the beginning. I’m a firm believer that meeting people in-person helps me get to know them better. At the same time, however, there was an opportunity to meet more people virtually. It’s all a matter of how you communicate, and I was used to a certain way of doing things for years. But we must be open to change, and now I’ve learned that I can communicate remotely quite effectively, even if I think that nothing beats meeting in person.

In an Epson survey of 2,500 people in Europe, 89% said they miss attending organised events and over nine in ten (92%) said they were looking forward to attending new events once restrictions are lifted. The attendance at Wembley during the Euros is one of many examples of the hunger people have to get out and start enjoying real human interaction again. This was also a very proud time for Italy!

How is Epson tackling climate change via its technology and business approaches?
From the heart and from the core of its technology. For many years now Epson has been working to reduce environmental burdens. I remember back in 2008, before climate change was such a priority for many businesses. I was living in the UK and was responsible for corporate communications, and our global president set up a target of reducing CO2 emissions by 90% across the lifecycle of all products and services by the year 2050.

Now, more than 10 years later and we’ve only increased our commitment with the aim of becoming carbon negative and underground resource-free by 2050, reducing our total emissions in line with the 1.5-degree scenario by 2030. We are alson planning to spend 100 billion yen (around .75 billion Euros) over the next 10 years on decarbonisation. But it has nothing to do with what everyone says. It’s about what we believe, and I believe we can change.

What are your views on the impacts of the pandemic on different sectors that rely on pro display tech (live entertainment, visitor attractions, education etc)?
The key phrase here is ‘new normal’. The difficulty is in predicting how this will look, but I don’t think the new normal will remove any of the requirements from these sectors. The hybrid learning and working environments adapted during the pandemic demonstrate additional options, not a substitute of what we had before.

For live entertainment, it is clear people want to go back to this as soon as possible. For visitor attractions I think we are at the beginning of this journey in terms of exploring the role of AV. For example, there is so much history in Europe that can be enriched with AV and the least invasive application that I can imagine is putting video on top of reality with projection, as it avoids permanently disrupting the surface.

This example was demonstrated at Alexander’s Cathedral in Narva, Estonia, where we projection mapped onto a truly beautiful environment with content that would only ever be possible with projection. Another example is when projection was used to display content onto the walls of Jerusalem, or onto Greece’s government building to celebrate their 200 years of independence earlier this year. How else can such visual experiences be created in such environments?”

How do you view the role of projection versus flat panel in the future – how do you intend to tackle this?
There is space for both. Ultimately, the best technology will win based on the customer requirements. But where customers need a larger display, the chances are high that projection will be chosen. We intend to continue meeting the continued demands for projection with effective, reliable, and sustainable solutions for our customers.

What has Epson got planned for this year and next, as we hopefully return to normal?
One of our first concrete plans moving forwards is that we’ve just signed up to ISE in Barcelona in February, where we will show our newest range and meet with our customers. Over the last two-to-three months we’ve seen opportunities through our CRM double in number and in size – a clear sign of the success that lies ahead of us and our customers.

What are your views on this year’s atypical ISE – how it was handled and how it may influence 2022 (particularly regarding virtual attendance)?
Epson didn’t attend these. Like many others, we continue to balance the risks of contamination with the benefits of meeting people, and we felt it was a little early this year to safely meet with people.

However, I think that February will be a good time to meet with our customers. ISE is a prestigious gathering and has always been a great platform for Epson to engage with the industry. While the volume of attendees in February may not live up to the benchmark set in previous years, we’re confident that most of the key people in the industry will attend.