POV: Reaching Out
Sep 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D.
Each day, society taps into audiovisual communication to harness the power of sight and sound to exchange ideas, educate, entertain, inspire, and motivate. Once best known for overhead and slide projectors, the professional audiovisual industry provides critical support to the business community, educational institutions, the government, healthcare organizations, retail outlets, sporting events, entertainment venues, museums, and worship communities.
According to InfoComm International's research, the $55-billion worldwide audiovisual industry is poised to grow dramatically over the next several years. Even in this challenging global economy, the demand for AV products and services is driven by the value they provide. Whether audiovisual equipment is being used in a command-and-control center designed to protect critical government infrastructure, providing distance-learning opportunities, assisting medical personnel in making lifesaving diagnoses, supporting more effective presentation of important information, inspiring a congregation, or entertaining fans at a large venue, the industry has an impact on virtually everyone's life.
Audiovisual communications have been integrated into modern society. Collaborative conferencing, telepresence, and digital signage are among the fastest-growing applications, composing 80 percent of corporate spending on AV. It is not a coincidence that these technologies also represent the nexus between AV and IT. The communications value of these applications is, in large part, derived from their network backbone.
InfoComm's 2008 Market Forecast Survey also found that decisions about AV purchases are divided evenly between AV and IT managers. However, these same AV pros predicted that in the next three years, a dramatic shift will occur and AV purchasing decisions will be made mostly by IT managers, such as chief information officers.
AV Week, a seven-day celebration of the AV industry geared to raise industry awareness, will be held Oct. 21-29, 2008. Let this be the year you focus your outreach toward the CIOs of today and tomorrow. Conduct an AV information session for MBA students. Invite AV technology managers and CIOs to your facility to learn more about AV technology trends. Host a panel discussion on challenges and solutions for IT personnel who have become suddenly responsible for AV.
AV Week also offers the perfect platform for educating students about the value of joining the audiovisual workforce. Host a career fair, talk to students, or conduct an open house for guidance counselors — the possibilities for outreach are endless.
Some AV design consultants and integrators set up meetings with architects during AV Week to educate them on the value of partnering with AV professionals early in the building design process. InfoComm has a PowerPoint presentation that members can download and customize. It has been approved by the American Institute of Architects for continuing-education credits.
Still other industry players use AV Week as a time to recognize top performers and employees who have achieved Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certification. It also provides a great opportunity to challenge staff to achieve advanced AV certifications, such as the Certified Technology Specialist-Design (CTS-D) or Certified Technology Specialist-Installation (CTS-I).
InfoComm has template advertising that you can run in local business publications and customize with your company's logo, as well as AV Week-branded merchandise for giveaways.
To learn more about AV Week and to access resources, visit www.avweek.org.
Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D., is executive director of InfoComm International.