I’m sure you’re all pretty sick of hearing about convergence. It’s been the buzzword from InfoComm, NSCA and most of our major publications for, oh, the last decade. IT is coming! Convergence is upon us! Adapt or die! The clarion call has been shouted from rooftops, proclaimed in industry classes and discussed endlessly — in roundtables and keynotes and blog upon blog. To an average integrator, this tintinnabulation has echoed falsely in our everyday work life. Sure, we meet with more IT guys than general facilities guys these days, and yeah, once in a while an IT firm shows up at an AV project pre-bid, but the wholesale takeover of our industry as predicted has simply not come to pass. It’s not that big a deal. Okay, business has slowed some places for integrators, but it’s the economy, right? Things are down all over!
Well, yes and no, my friends. True, the down economy of the past decade has made clients more cautious with their spending and more likely to shop around, but did you know the AV industry is one of the few industries to show sustained GROWTH during the recession? Just check the 2012 Global AV Market Definition and Strategy Study conducted by Acclaro Growth Partners on behalf of InfoComm International. Our industry showed 11 percent growth over the recessionary period between 2009 and 2012. The study further predicts industry growth at 14 between now and 2015, putting us as a predicted $115 billion global industry by 2015! Phenomenal numbers but many smaller AV companies are still feeling the pinch. Why?
One answer can be found in a CompTIA blog from Oct. 5, 2012 by Kate Hunt. If you don’t even know that CompTIA is the trade association for the IT industry, well, you’re probably part of those AV companies feeling the pain right now. The blog I’m referencing is titled, “A One-Stop Resource for Building a Successful Audiovisual Practice” – in short, a how-to for IT companies and professionals to take advantage of our now-post-convergence world and get into AV so they can get a share of that expected $115 billion that is coming.
Now, this blog by Ms. Hunt could be read as yet another alarmist, “They took our jobs!” argument against the great IT invasion. I, however, look at this as a great opportunity. Take a few minutes to read Ms. Hunt’s blog ( www.channelpartnersonline.com/blogs/comptia-blog/2012/10/a-one-stop-resource-for-building-a-successful-aud.aspx). She doesn’t espouse a scorched-earth “us or them” mentality at all. In fact, her entire post reads as an opportunity for savvy AV integrators. She recommends working with AV professionals and experts, learning from InfoComm, CES and CEDIA, and generally taking advantage of existing resources for their AV growth. Existing resources… like us.
Ms. Hunt’s blog refers readers to the CompTIA Quick Start Guide – Audiovisual Integration Opportunities; A Practical Guide for Solution Providers ( http://www.comptia.org/documents/MDOC_STORAGE/Quick_Start_Guide_Audiovisual_Integration_onine_2038-US.pdf). This downloadable PDF document is eight pages of advice and strategy for AV/IT companies and encourages readers to adhere to InfoComm AV standards, to take our coursework and to get our certifications… or to hire those who have expertise in these areas. The IT world is openly embracing AV now and, if you are willing to meet them part-way, the opportunity is here for you to expand and grow your integration business by embracing them back.