We’ve all heard it a thousand times, adapt or die. As with any industry that relies squarely on technology for its existence staying current with trends, market shifts, customer needs and technologic advancements are all vital. What I have not heard too much of until recently is this concern that our industry is starting to struggle with remaining relevant. That the Pro A/V Integration market is in a race stave off lack of viability and irrelevance. I believe wholeheartedly that it is very healthy to take stock of ourselves and always be willing to see things with a clear set of eyes. What is crucial is that we not let the high level of daily activity tied to business cause us to stick our collective heads in the sand or be lulled into a false sense of security. That said, I’m not so sure I buy into this irrelevance concern, at least not for the foreseeable future.
I’d be completely remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the seismic shift taking place in our industry. Commoditization and the inherent challenges in trying to shift away from margin tied to selling black boxes vs. how to become profitable selling Managed Services. The IoT (Internet of Things) forcing our industry’s hand to become IT experts. Corporate giants making inroads into our world and the ubiquity of smart phones and tablets (BYOD) invading every aspect of what we do… These are all serious industry shifts that must be contended with. But in the end, this need to adapt was, is now and always will be a part of the picture. Remaining relevant is about being able to respond to what the market demands. Those that can do this well will be successful, those don’t, won’t. It’s that simple. Is this need growing more acute with the advancement of technology?… probably, but to say that fundamentally speaking as an industry we’re losing our grip on relevance is in my mind, not true.
Commoditization is one those aspects of selling technology that leaves me with that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It’s like that green pestilence, the Angel of Death in the movie Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston. It just comes and there’s really no way to stop it once it takes over. And if you look at it too long and try to fight it, it kills you. Without question, finding out how best to expand revenue reach by offering Managed Services is one of the leading industry trends to minimize the impact of commoditization. It’s the Lamb’s blood to put over the door. If any of you haven’t seen The Ten Commandments, watch it. It’s an all-time classic.
The IoT buzz phrase is catching some people’s attention as well. How this will take shape, how soon and to what extent, are TBD. But there is no question IP protocol standardization will take over sooner or later. How well we respond as an industry will be crucial. If there’s an area where we are potentially vulnerable, it’s here. And with the advancement of IoT will come the advancement of large corporations looking to leverage what IoT does for what they offer in combination with what our industry has to offer. I do get the sense that companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Honeywell, Siemens are circling over top waiting for the right time to come in and snatch up as much revenue as they can. I don’t necessarily see a way to stop this from happening. But I also don’t necessarily think this is all bad news. Integration will be an integral need for customers for the foreseeable future. I believe we will remain relevant as long as clients need customer and technology facing solutions to conduct business.
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