I, perhaps the only writer in the industry to do it, had some less than wonderful things to say about the InfoComm show.
Not about the show itself, as always it was first class, but instead about the business, industry and utter lack of innovation taking place.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, technology is passing this business by and while sales and integration may not support that, the leading indicators of tech usage and adoption are most visible in today’s growing number of consumers who have almost no interest in sitting in meeting rooms anymore and furthermore would prefer to consume content almost exclusively on their mobile devices.
In just the past year, the number of households that have gone broadband has only grown by more than 100%, to 2.6m from just 1.1m a year ago.
While this may seem like a relatively small percentage of total U.S. households, this rapid growth is showing the consumer preference toward absorbing content on their mobile devices and PCs rather than on their televisions or big screens.
Making the direct correlation to AV systems may be difficult for some people. But let’s make the connection using some other trends that have shown the power of consumerisation.
• The DVD. Blockbuster never saw the movement to streaming. Even their evolution was to copy Netflix DVD-in-the-mail service. Netflix saw what was next. When was the last time you rented a DVD?
• Digital Photography. Other than photographers, anyone carrying one of those around? Kodak missed this completely, we take more photos than ever now, but who’s using film or printing pictures?
• The Mobile Phone. The chip in the phone in our pocket is likely more powerful than your laptop or PC of just two to three years ago. Apple or Microsoft, the iPad and Surface can both outperform your 2013 Desktop.
• The Cloud. Any companies building out data centres to store files or run programs? Maybe if you are F500, government or a hospital. But even they are using the cloud.
So does the transformation of media from disc to hard-drive, the near elimination of dedicated appliances, the removal of on-premise hardware to run business applications and the capability of all of your computing needs to be run off of a device that can fit in your pocket indicate that maybe the systems-based approach of the AV industry has its days numbered?
Like I said, I have no doubt that this industry has an important place in business communications, however, I am steadfast in my belief that integrators cannot ignore the bigger trends like those I mentioned above.
In every solution designed and deployed, cloud, mobile, big data and social are critical. Technology leaders of schools, corporations and government are going to be concerned with not only these trends, but having integration partners that understand acutely the security, privacy and accessibility of their solutions based upon these trends.
With mobile devices and Internet reaching the hands of billions, with more in the years to come, it isn’t only risky, but downright foolish to ignore the direction of the greater industry trends when thinking about new products, solutions, training and education required for an industry that has largely made its money the same way for more than 30 years.
I’ll take my lumps for laying this out there. But I stand by the fact that this is exactly what our industry needs to hear if we plan to evolve and grow the way we need to.
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