POV: EZip—the Electronic Price-sheet Solution
Nov 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Barry Goldin, CTS
Three years ago, the InfoComm Manufacturers Council and the Systems Integration Leadership Council (SILC) embarked on a project to create a common electronic price-sheet format for dealers. The format was born out of frustration. With dealers receiving pricing from manufacturers in hundreds of formats, there has been a daily struggle to download this information into various proposal- and purchase-order-generating systems. The resulting effort has been arduous, time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive.
Last year, the Manufacturers Council and SILC rolled out EZip — the new industry standard for electronic pricing formats. EZip earned its name because it is truly easy to adopt and consistently deploy — just ask the manufacturers who use it! Compliance is achieved by populating a mandatory number of fields per part number. The format includes the flexibility for manufacturers to communicate specific detailed data. Since EZip's successful rollout, several manufacturers and dealers have expressed interest in learning more about EZip and many have agreed to adopt it after learning of its benefits.
Some manufacturers that are currently using EZip include Altinex, AMX, Biamp Systems, ClearOne, Crestron, Da-Lite, Draper, Eiki International, Extron Electronics, Focus Enhancements, Kramer Electronics, Listen Technologies, Middle Atlantic Products, Panasonic Projection, RGB Spectrum, Sennheiser, Tannoy, Vaddio, VBrick, Wireless Computing, and Wolfvision.
Since EZip launched, we have heard some concerns that InfoComm International might somehow become involved in the distribution of pricing information. While InfoComm has fully supported the development of EZip format, the association is not involved in the exchange of data between manufacturers and dealers. The commercial AV community should be assured that there is no third-party involvement; data can only be seen by a manufacturer and the dealers the manufacturer chooses to communicate with. Manufacturers simply populate the EZip format template with their information and distribute it like any other pricing list.
The SILC and Manufacturers Council are working together to increase the awareness and adoption of the EZip format. Many dealers continue to encourage each manufacturer to adopt and deploy the EZip program as quickly as possible. Dealers who have embraced the EZip solution include Advanced AV Systems Integration, Allen Visual Systems, Alpha Video & Audio, Audio Video Resources, Audio Video Systems, Audio Visual Technologies Group, Audiovisual, AV Innovations, A-VIDD Electronics, Avidex, Avitecture, AVMan Presentation Systems, AVW-TelAV, Avyve, Blue Sky Integrated Technologies, Ceavco, Clark-Powell Associates, Comprehensive Technical Group, Creative Presentations, Crescent Communications, Delta AV, Digital Roads, Duncan Video, Duocom Canada, ECS, Electro-Systems Alliance, Excel Media, Ford AV, HB Communications, IMS, Industrial Audio/Video, Integrated Media Systems, IVCI, Lubbock Audio Visual, Midwest Computer Products, Mission Electronics, Multi-Media Solutions, Nor-Com, Online Technologies, One Work Place, Pacific Video Products, Presentation Concepts Corporation, Presentation Media, Professional Video Supply, Snader and Associates, Spinitar, SPL, Technical Innovation, TeL Systems, Tempest Technologies, Terra Nova, The Audio Visual Company, Tierney Brothers, Video Systems of the Carolinas, Visionality, and VMI of St. Louis.
EZip is of great importance to the pro AV community, and we hope that all commercial AV manufacturers and dealers will jump on board to help solve this long-standing industry-wide problem.
To participate in EZip, please visit www.infocomm.org/ezip. There you will find links that will lead you to more information on EZip and an area to sign on to support this initiative. Once you fill out a short form requesting identifying information, you can download the format. After a manufacturer successfully populates EZip and sends it to its dealers, the company should let InfoComm know by emailing email@example.com. InfoComm will publish your company's logo on the EZip portion of the website identifying your support to the rest of the pro AV community.
I hope everyone will do their part to advance this important initiative.
Barry Goldin, CTS, is director of systems integration at Chantilly, Va.-based Audio Video Systems. He serves as chair of InfoComm's Systems Integration Leadership Council (SILC).