• Type: Whitepaper
  • Topics: Av Industry; Business And Management;
  • Date: February 2016

By Dan Daley, Special to AVIXA

The pro-AV business landscape has been fluid for some time. The tectonic shift from analog to digital as the technological foundation of the industry set the tone for constant change, as new platforms and formats, from digital audio to 4K video, have generated relentless technical churn.

Biz of AVAt the same time, the commercial side of the business was doubly challenged by the Great Recession. Most major verticals reined in spending starting in 2008, while at the same time, the pro-AV industry witnessed growing incursions on its flanks from residential integrators fleeing the challenged housing sector, IT businesses eyeing AV as an adjunct service, and others. More recently, there has been several years’ worth of merger-and-acquisition activity that has changed the makeup of both the service-provider and the vendor sides of pro AV. In short, it’s been a head-spinning time for commercial audiovisual companies.

Tom Peters, CTS®, General Manager of Garden-Grove, Calif.-based SybaTek, has seen challenges from multiple angles.

“Competition is getting more diverse, while at another level it’s consolidating,” says Peters, who is also a past president of AVIXA, citing the just-announced merger of large AV integration companies Diversified and Technical Innovations. “We see residential dealers migrating into the commercial space, often with a very different mindset from traditional commercial integrators. We also see IT firms attempting to broaden their role with clients, again with a different mindset. In addition, the ubiquity of AV has led some influencers, such as design firms and project management firms, to attempt to set budgets without the ability to ascertain the desires and needs of the client, which then often leaves the client with an inadequate budget for their needs. And once budgets are set, it is very hard to move them higher. So funds that could have been spent on technology end up on the floor, or in the bathroom fixtures, rather than in AV systems. It is more important than ever to ensure that AV experts are at the table from the beginning.”

Lisa Perrine, CTS, CEO of Cibola Systems, a 17-employee AV and network design firm in Orange County, Calif., says consolidation’s impact varies based on what’s being consolidated. She’s less concerned about conglomeration among the AV systems integrators that