This year’s AVEC (AV Executive Conference) gave me the chance to discuss something I don’t often get to on my weekly podcast, AVWeek. Jane Hammersley from Maverick AV Solutions, Julian Phillips of Whitlock, and Joe Laezza from AVI-SPL gave the audience at AVEC insights on collaboration. In this context, that word has two meanings.
Unified Communications and Collaboration
Time was, when someone in AV mentioned collaboration it was shorthand for UCC, or unified communications and collaboration. Part of our conversation was certainly about the UC space. This area is not just about the technology. Julian Phillips of Whitlock called collaboration “a human endeavor” and not just part of the AV technology.
Inherently, those parts that are technology driven are becoming more prevalent though not as intricate as they once were. Jane Hammersley said, “In the past, AV integrators would approach the outfitting of the conference room or ‘corner office’ as the pinnacle of a client’s AV job.” Hammersley went on to discuss how it isn’t just those high-dollar complex systems that drive business and revenue, it’s the smaller, simpler systems. There are more systems like those, they typically take less time and fewer hours, and can be deployed faster. Overall, the small UC spaces could be more profitable than the marquee conference room.
Collaborate as in Together
English is a funny language. It is possible in some respects to bear a bear. We could each seek to add two video cameras, too. You and I can collaborate on a collaboration space. The second part of collaboration had these executives discussing partnerships and teamwork between companies.
Whitlock has been involved with a furniture manufacturer connecting with customers and their spaces. Hammersley and her team at Maverick leveraged their partnerships with Zoom and other videoconferencing providers to help integrators deliver collaboration spaces. It is the idea of focusing on your strengths.
The definition of collaboration is really where the power of our talk shines. Audiovisual integrators have been designing and deploying integration systems for decades. This is what you do. There are areas of the customer experience that are not an area of expertise for AVIXA members. When you collaborate with furniture companies, IT services, Managed Service Providers, and others who also serve the customer, you strengthen each other and ultimately serve the clients better.
The bottom line of collaborating on collaboration spaces is partnerships. What we have come to know as a turn-key provider has largely gone away. When we, as an industry, are able to come alongside other ancillary disciplines, we not only win more projects, we are able to create an unparalleled customer experience.