The corporate vertical market, or at least as it is so called within the pro AV industry, has been the mainstay of professional integration work since the early days. Back when education was the other core vertical and ‘AV guys’ were the technical staff who wheeled around the overhead projector from classroom to classroom. Or the big tube TV with a connected VHS player. Yeah, you remember the days. Boy what a long way we’ve come as an industry.
Though our visions of audiovisual have expanded since then, our terminology hasn’t necessarily. Corporate itself is now a blurred term for what is really a horizontal market cutting across many industries or verticals. After all, large retail organizations, hospitality companies, and even governments have offices, meaning corporate would be better described as office environments. Whatever we call it, things have changed in those spaces, creating tremendous opportunity for providers of integrated experiences through audiovisual solutions.
What used to be a series of disconnected flagship conference rooms have become communication and collaboration points, tied together with networks. What were cookie-cutter office buildings have become statements of corporate identity, brand, and culture. Where individuals used to be housed in a rabbit warren of individual offices, open concepts with privacy rooms and huddle spaces have emerged to facilitate inter-team coordination. All the while, some companies are instead down-sizing their headquarters or local offices to encourage and support telecommuting and remote work.
Thanks to all of these trends, office environments remain the single largest source of audiovisual solution revenues for the pro-AV channel. According to the latest version of AVIXA’s Industry Outlook Trends and Analysis (IOTA), this segment will generate nearly $40 billion in 2018 alone, or one-fifth of the total industry revenues. Growth is expected to be a bit more muted than overall industry forecasts, at 2 percent through 2023, though it will add $10 billion in revenues over the period.
The sheer size of the opportunity warrants a closer look, especially for AV providers looking for ways to better serve this clientele. Or put in the words of integrators asking the questions – what do these end-users want or need and how do they go about making their solution purchase decisions? Enter AVIXA’s Market Opportunity Analysis Reports (MOAR), a series launched to investigate the opportunities and challenges inherent in the various application markets for AV integrators or providers. Results of the first market included in the series, retail, were published in May of this year and so the lens is now turned on corporate office environments as a lifeblood of pro-AV.
The new Corporate MOAR report reveals several things, some of which will be confirmations for those with a long history serving this market.
- Don’t Make Broad Assumptions About Corporate Clients
One of the big ones is – don’t assume too much about a company at the outset. This would seem contrary to the entire purpose of many research efforts, that of creating generalities to apply as a starting point. But its more about the subtleties. Over-generalizing findings is somewhat challenging and risky. Why? Because corporations each approach solutions from a different perspective with their own identities and cultures in mind, making absolutes impossible and inaccurate. To say, for example, all corporations are trending away from remote workforce and more towards branded offices would be an overstatement. The same would be true of a trend away from individual offices and more towards collaborative or huddle spaces. All of these are true and accurate in some sense but do not apply in all cases. The point is to spend time learning about the specific company situation at the outset, which most know but some forget. After all this is where the value can be found.
- Identify the Client’s Core Metrics
The aspect of this investigation that is particularly important is the identification of the core metrics on which the corporation is focused. As an example, the research shows some are emphasizing productivity, while others are concerned more with employee retention and satisfaction, particularly in light of historically low unemployment. These play out in the solution types sought by the company. It will also determine how success is measured upon completion. Return on investment, rather than be a strict financial calculation based on a change to revenues and costs, may instead be measured as a meaningful shift in another core metric. Savvy integrators identify these early.
- Be Good at Working with IT
One more universally applicable truism explored by the MOAR study is the involvement of IT in the solutions process. To be clear, this isn’t new as IT management of AV technology has been evolving for decades. Even the distribution of audiovisual content over IP networks has been discussed for the better part of 10 years, if not more in conceptual form. However, the ramifications of this are still emerging. Specifically, from a solutions provider perspective research reveals two things – 1) solutions are often approached from an IT manager’s procurement mindset, with costs and ease of integration at the forefront, and 2) the project team itself needs to include more IT skillsets so that audiovisual solutions can integrate well with the networking architecture.Exactly how this plays out may vary with each prospect, but integrators are having to adapt regardless.
- Client Service and Project Management Matter
Reacting to budget constraints, educating clients about technology options, or dealing with gaps in purported knowledge are further themes that the MOAR: Corporate research explores.
Whether coming into this market for the first time or having served corporate end users for years, the report has a little something for everyone and so we encourage you to take a look. Don’t see what you are hoping to find? Let us know that too for our future market intelligence endeavors.