Your Opportunity is RIGHT NOW!

They Took Our Jobs!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!

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Technology and Time March On…

Peter Shankman is a genius and a social media and marke1980's Gear Guyting GIANT.  He’s also a great guy who curates and shares a lot of fabulous content online and shares with his network… in which I am lucky to be included.  He just read a great (okay, greatly depressing) posting on BuzzFeed by a guy named Matt Stopera called “48 Things That Will Make You Feel Old.”

The original post is located at http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/things-that-will-make-you-feel-old and I highly recommend surfing over to check it out. If you are anything like me, you will vacillate wildly between “OMG! I remember THAT/HIM/HER!!” and “OMG… I am soooooo old! *le sigh*”

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A WAVE of Good Cheer in DC

This Friday past, the Women in AV (WAVE) held their first ‘international’

Fado Irish Pub - Chinatown, Washington, DC - Location for the DC area WAVE tweetup.

tweet-up, with live events held simultaneously in 10 cities around the US and via Twitter, worldwide.  For a first-effort, I’d say this event was a rousing success.  Thanks to the BlogSquad’s own Jennifer Willard for working so hard to put this event together!

In Washington, DC, I ended up with the task of organizing a venue for the party.  Since there was no way to really know who and how many would show up for this inaugural event, I decided to throw the local party at a joint where I’d enjoy hanging out. Thus, Fado Irish Pub in DC’s Chinatown became our tweet-up home.  Fantastic, authentic Irish food and lots of great beer and cider on tap, plus open WiFi.  Not a bad place to spend an evening for a tweet-up!

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Hi, I’m Dawn… And I’m an AV Professional

The SingOffI’ve gotten a lot of fantastic feedback from my last blog, Preach It – including having the blog featured on last week’s AVWeek podcast by AVNation. And every word is honest truth… As an AV pro, you have to be passionate about your field and about the technology and about the work you do.  However, there can be a downside to this passion for the industry. It can become an obsession, an addiction that impacts your life.  Hi everyone.  My name is Dawn.  And I’m an AV Professional.

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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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C’mon Over Baby… A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On

The East Coast Earthquake and Social Media’s Omnipresence

So, I’m sitting here in my living room this afternoon, working on an upcoming rAVe article on Safety Standards when suddenly the entire house starts shaking. The windows rattle, as do the plates in the china cupboard and the frames and decorations on the walls. Having experienced a 3.6 magnitude earthquake here in Maryland last summer, I recognized the rumbling and rattling, so I put down the laptop, grabbed my phone and headed to the nearest doorway. I was joined moments later by one freaked-out West Highland White Terrier who’d been digging around the backyard when the backyard apparently took umbrage!

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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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A Busy Spring…

So, another hiatus for AVDawn, but this time, I tell ya, I had a few darned good excuses!In March of this year, after fighting through the brunt of the recession, MrAVDawn and I decided to cut our losses and dissolve the partnership we made two years ago that made us part-owners of a small mom-and-pop AV Integrator. MrAVDawn immediately went to work for a larger integrator in the MidAtlantic region that specializes in government contracts, particularly secure VTC centers. Exciting stuff, as he joined the firm right off the bat as a Senior Design Engineer. He loves the new gig, and the new gig seems to be loving him.

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