Preach It, Brothers and Sisters, Preach It!

Evangelize AV!

The AV industry has existed a very long time now.  Our trade association, Infocomm, itself celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2009.  Yet, despite this long history, and despite the fact that products from our industry are integral to daily life around the world (mics, speakers, TVs, computer monitors, etc), we are still widely unknown and overlooked by many.  It took until the release of MasterFormat2004 before we got a place of our own for AV specs in construction documents. There are still no AV Design Engineer or AV Installer degree programs in the United States, possibly the world, and only a few related degree programs out there that are similar – acoustical engineer, communications, broadcast degrees, etc. And, the public at large has no clue what we do, for the most part.  Heck, I’m AVDawn for pity’s sake, yet my own mother thinks I “sell TVs or something like that.”  (Bless her heart!)

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Little Fish Tales, volume 2: THE SKY IS FALLING! Well, maybe…

The Economy, US Credit Downgrade and Little Fish

I was working on a new Little Fish Tales (on dealing with manufacturers as a Little Fish… stay tuned!) when news broke on Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the US Credit Rating from AAA to AA+ for the first time ever. As the economy has been on everyone’s mind for the past, oh, 3 or 4 years anyways, I felt it important to postpone the other topic and address this one.

So, how has the economy been treating us Little Fish?  Anecdotally, we’re taking a beating. Corporate installs have slowed to a trickle over the past two years and competition for the government and education projects has skyrocketed. Big Fish who never bothered with some of the smaller projects that kept Little Fish fed are suddenly circling them with a hungry gleam in their eyes, while new players join the battle from other ponds – residential AV, security, telecom, IT.  One #AVTweep who participated in the February 2011 #AVChat on ‘The Economy’ said, “(We) started doing smaller jobs we normally wouldn’t have messed with.” It is becoming harder and harder for the Little Fish integrator to get a nibble.

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Mid-Summer Mélange

As we begin the hot, steamy month of August, here’s a hodge-podge of observations that’ve been on my mind thus far this summer:

  • Infocomm (the show) is an entirely different world for exhibitors than it is for attendees! This was the first year I worked a booth, and it was crazy. Late nights setting up the booth, early mornings and long hours manning it, late afternoon tearing down. Not to mention, missing almost the entire rest of the show while focused on one tiny bit of real estate on the show floor. Seriously, I have sooooo much more respect for all of my manufacturer friends after this experience! Of course, I also hope to never have to go through that again! Me, I’ll take integration any day. *nods sagely*

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10 Years Later – OH C’MON! Did You Not Get the Memo??

As an AV pro and a social media enthusiast, I tend to keep an eye on the Twitterverse throughout my day. We’ve developed quite the community of AV professionals on that platform, and you never know when something profound, beneficial or earth-shattering will come across the Twitterfeed that can impact our businesses – a link to an article, research, video or even just a statement that resonates. A couple of weeks ago, one such statement came across my Twitterfeed and it utterly stunned me. With permission from the author, here goes:

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Twitter’s Top 5 Badass AV Women

The other day, I read a blog by Diana Adams (@adamsconsulting) called “Twitter’s Top 75 Badass Women.” This wonderful article – which can be read at http://tinyurl.com/Top75Women – detailed 75 great ladies on Twitter who have a passion for their jobs and share it well. As Ms. Adams wrote:

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Little Fish Tales, volume 1: Size Matters

Welcome to Little Fish Tales.

I have decided that I will periodically devote some of my blog space to real world tales from the small integrator – some rants, some raves, some random observations – all from the perspective of the little guy. In future editions of Little Fish Tales, I’ll share some of the vexation of dealing with manufacturers, the heartburn of bidding against the big guys, the struggle of differentiating oneself from the more disreputable little guys, and the frustrations of trying to grow and thrive in the big pond without getting eaten by the big fish. Of course, I’ll also talk about some of the benefits and blessings of being the little guy that the big guys might envy. Before getting to all that, however, let’s talk about the word “little.” After all, size matters!

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A Contrarian’s View of the 3-D Craze

Bah-Humbug!

Okay, so I’m not generally one to buck industry trends entirely, but I have to say, I’m simply not on this 3-D bandwagon. Since 2008, we’ve been inundated with 3-D as the be-all, end-all of coming AV display trends. At the 2010 Infocomm, you couldn’t swing a swagbag without smacking a 3-D projector, 3-D flat-panel display, or 3-D player for those displays. This week’s CES event headlines are also 3-D heavy: “Tablets, Dual-Core Phones and 3-D Cameras: 2011’s Hottest Gadget Trends” – “What to Expect from CES 2011: Androids, Tablets And 3D TVs” – “How Blu-ray Could Speed Up 3D TV Adoption” – and so on. In fact, 3-D mania has even invaded kids’ games and telephones, with 3-D handheld video game systems and 3-D screen smartphones on sale or on the way to store shelves. It’s everywhere. So why am I bucking the 3-D trend? Well, there are several reasons.

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