The Industry Skyline

The systems integration industry's landscape is changing. How we do business, whom we do business with, and what our business actually is these are all
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The Industry Skyline

Apr 1, 2005 12:00 PM, By Mark Johnson

The systems integration industry's landscape is changing. How we do business, whom we do business with, and what our business actually is — these are all up for grabs. NSCA recently held its second Leadership Forum, where representatives from various industry segments (integrators, manufacturers, consultants, and sales reps) met to help define industry trends and identify some of the strengths and opportunities for the NSCA in the face of change.

Trends: As information technology's role grows in AV systems installations, the person primarily responsible for the IT system also plays a larger role in the specification and purchase of the AV equipment that will depend upon that IT infrastructure for control and communication. How will the relationship between AV and IT personnel develop? And is the IT manager the customer? The facility manager? The business owner?

The reasons why people buy products are changing, too. It's no longer technology for technology's sake: People are scrutinizing the benefits of a given product or service. It could be anything from price or functionality to aesthetics or even certification. (I put Product X in because it was UL-approved.) Content is also driving product acquisition. A prime example is the cell phone business. Buy a particular service and get a free (or deeply discounted) phone. As it relates to our industry, a provider of content and messaging services could supply the flat-panel displays as an enticement to use its services.

Opportunities and strengths: NSCA was originally chartered as an association for sound contractors (then systems contractors). How representation for other key industry participants — manufacturers, consultants, and independent sales reps — will manifest itself relative to the NSCA was viewed as the primary opportunity. Also, NSCA's industry education and personal development programs were identified as a strength. And that includes such certification programs as C-EST.

As the industry evolves, NSCA is soliciting input and asking questions to help drive that evolution. Although all the questions may not be answered immediately, NSCA lends a focus that fosters individual and corporate development.

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