Manufacturers of AV products and AV system integrators are currently experiencing the advance of IT companies into their own market. One of the high-quality dealers, suppliers, and manufacturers is StriveAV. Is this a threat or even an opportunity? PROFESSIONAL SYSTEM spoke to Mark Jensen, managing partner of macom, about current market developments. Since the ISE in February 2019 at the latest, even those who have been most skeptical to date should have realized that the IT industry has also discovered the AV market for itself. At the world’s largest trade fair for audiovisual system integration, collaboration and education were the top topics, and the number of IT exhibitors and the products presented, which were developed in cooperation with IT manufacturers, rose again significantly. This trend did not emerge overnight, but has to be seen in the context of a decade-long development. The current intensity of this development is due to digitization, which is making its way in companies and institutions around the world. And who could assess this development better than an experienced specialist planning company that has to know the needs of its customers in order to implement media technology solution concepts. The macom group with over 20 years of business experience is a leading European team of experts in matters of specialist planning and consulting. In the following interview, Jensen, managing partner of macom GmbH, reflects on the current market situation and puts his finger on some sore spots … Mr. Jensen, IT companies such as Cisco, Microsoft or Google are getting involved in the AV market more than ever – companies that work in a very structured and globally networked manner. Is IT ultimately eating the AV industry? The big IT firms also have an advantage. The AV industry now finally has a supporter in the company, someone who approaches the topic of digitization in new working environments in a structured manner. Here, IT can be a valuable partner for the media technology industry. IT companies, but also the IT departments in customer companies, have been thinking in terms of processes and standards and not in terms of products for years. This has great advantages from which the AV industry can benefit because it increases acceptance. But of course that also poses a threat to the AV industry. IT companies such as Cisco, Google and Microsoft offer very standardized solutions, from company-wide infrastructures to small rooms. This creates direct competition and the AV industry has to follow suit, otherwise it will be overwhelmed. This applies to manufacturers in the field of signal transmission and also to system integrators. The AV industry must be aware that Cisco, for example, has been in the video conference system market for 30 years. The industry had enough time to prepare. Most of the time, however, she did not do it.

The “classic” manufacturers of AV signal management are particularly affected by this development. How can these companies assert themselves in the market? The largest market for providers of AV system integrator and AV signal management, the small to medium-sized meeting rooms, has collapsed due to the wireless presentation issue. Here the providers have lost large market shares. In terms of technology, the next step we see is that the applications will migrate directly to the displays. That will keep the market collapsing. In the future, users will simply bring their digital workstation on their laptop, tablet or smartphone into the meeting room and connect it directly to the output devices. This will probably make the subject of integration completely unnecessary in this segment. In larger conference, event and event locations, where multifunctional rooms are required, things are different. Wired systems will also be available here in the future, if only for reasons of operational safety. There will always be business here for the manufacturers and integrators. But the growth potential of this market has largely been exhausted. The main business is or was in small and medium-sized meeting rooms. With the increase in huddle spaces, this area will continue to grow. But the topic of wireless signal transmission will make this market more and more difficult in the future. This is where the providers have to move. The integrators are also affected by this development. In addition, their customers now generally expect more service and support. How does this market segment have to position itself so that the integrators are equipped for the future? Integrators have to put all of their services to the test. In addition to integration, customers expect comprehensive service management for the operation of their systems. This includes first-level support, a ticket system and the option of processing tickets on site or remotely. Additional services also include asset management for the customer, including end-of-live monitoring. Integrators have to completely rethink this. The projects no longer end when they are installed. The contacts at the customers are increasingly coming from IT. These are used to much more comprehensive service concepts than most media technology companies are currently able to provide. IT always thinks about operations first. In addition, customers expect partners who speak the language of IT. Anyone who cannot afford that in the AV industry is out of business very quickly.

Focus on digital transformation

The macom Group introduces itself on its homepage with a special claim – what added value does macom promise its customers with “creating added value in AV & IT”? Media technology is no longer just a pure technical infrastructure. In future workspaces, huddle rooms or innovation labs, it represents a productivity factor today. It must ensure that customers can work faster, more effectively, more agile and more collaboratively. Or it has to enable customers to generate new business. Here media technology is clearly given a business perspective. We analyze these added values ​​that media technology can and must bring in the future in order to be able to make them available to our customers. We also support the provision of services by the corporate AV departments in our customer companies. Just like technology, these departments must also become service providers. Standardization is a big keyword here. This can enable more efficient, cheaper operation and higher usability and thus user acceptance. In future workspaces, huddle rooms or innovation labs, media technology is a productivity factor today.

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