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IC20 Day 3 Keynote: Owning the Narrative

In a roundtable-style conversation, members of AVIXA’s Board of Directors share their visions and goals for the industry during and after the pandemic

Led by Jeff Day, AVIXA’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, IC20’s third and final keynote address, which was styled as a “fireside chat”, sought to define the AV industry’s role during and after the pandemic. In this moment, when we are all struggling to label the times we are living through as “new normal” and talking incessantly about “pivoting”, what are the emerging trends that will move our industry beyond crisis?

Forty percent of technology spend is currently going to digital transformation that is fueling disruptive opportunities, according to Day, who then poses the question, “how is the AV industry interacting with this digital transformation?” to his fellow board members, Jon Sidwick, Vice Chair, Victoria Dade, Director, Samantha Phenix, Secretary-Treasurer, and Rodrigo Ordóñez, CTS-D, Director.

“”Two things I try to grapple in my mind,” answers Sidwick. “One is this word ‘new normal’, ’cause I have no idea what new normal is. Because I think today’s normal is different to tomorrow’s normal. And the other one is, people talk about post-COVID-19 as if it is something that is kind of here today and is going to be gone in a few weeks time. I think we’ve got to learn to live with this for a lot longer.”

Sidwick highlights data, platforms and workflows as new, central aspects to zone in on in AV, with Day underpinning those in a collaboration context, noting that workflows especially require a different degree of competency to navigate those conversations that are being defined and driven, in real time,  in the corporate and enterprise space.

Dade also cites the dramatic transformation of the higher education and K-12 sector during the pandemic, where AV has long played a big role and is now poised to help reshape it forever. “AV and the integration between the learning management systems and the data has to be captured,” Dade says. “And it now needs to be captured so much more with the integration of LMS, Zoom. We’re really going to see an explosion of software products that are going to be able to be integrated into hardware, that are going to allow our students to learn virtually and also be on site.”

Dade adds that all of those tools will need to be enhanced for a good hybrid experience and  the AV industry has the advantage and the ability to shape how that is going to look and evolve.

In the context of our own experience with IC20, a virtual event that allowed us to have a more relaxed experience even as we miss the in-person camaraderie and kinship, Phenix raises the point that this experiment in virtual, live experiences will continue post-crisis and eventually become their own species of event.

“Chaos brings opportunity,” Phenix says. “That’s what I am most excited about. If I think about like conferences or events — I’m the chair for SID’s Display Week, which is a 100 percent virtual this year too — and just how we’re pivoting to providing that content for our attendees, and what I’m realizing is the opportunities it brings up for a global attendance. They can consume the content in the comfort of their own home, on their own time zone, they didn’t have to get on a plane; way more people are able to attend because you don’t have to have that travel budget. And yes, you miss out on that face to face, impromptu bump into in the aisles conversations, but I think those will evolve.”

While “changing” and “evolving have also become positive keywords to sustain or survival as an industry, Ordóñez is more interested in using the current moment as an accelerator for the AV industry to take the lead in defining experiences, noting that, “The opportunity that this situation is bringing to us is the opportunity to move one step ahead, and  be in those conversations, and not just react to the experience, but be the ones on the table defining what that experience is going to be so that our services, our technologies are an integral part of that experience. It’s not just the way something is done, it’s how it’s done.”

But what is AVIXA’s role in all of this? Day outlines the organization’s primary objectives — be a catalyst for growth and be a professional society — before asking the panel what they think about AVIXA’s opportunity to come together and catalyze professional society and the opportunity to catalyzing future growth.

“Communication is central to everything this crisis has produced and also, and this is so important, what we do has become mission critical, not mission optional,” Sidwick says. “We have to as an industry take the point that we’ve become one of those major service levels that make the world happen. And I think the relevance of what we have here is that if we don’t engage correctly somebody else will.”

“There are so many areas within society and so many endusers that wouldn’t have thought about the digital experience,” Phenix adds. “Maybe concert halls that usually have small live gigs well they want to keep doing their business, depending on what state they’re in, they can have more than 10 people, they’re going to have to broadcast. That’s the interim for them and I don’t think they are going to back once we show them that they can make revenue, they can meet business goals. It’s not either or, they can do both, it just going to expand the market.”

To watch the full keynote as well as the Q&A that followed visit here.


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