Today, AV equipment is overwhelmingly connected to the IT network—whether it be for remote management, remote access or remote collaboration. IT professionals are customers for AV integrators the majority of the time.
When managed services providers (MSPs) work with customers today, AV equipment is a clear and necessary concern in terms of bandwidth and security.
It’s not, however, the convergence people feared—the final Armageddon where AV integrators and IT providers fight in a righteous battle where only one emerges to handle all technology integration until eternity.
Those who scoff at the idea of the convergence never coming think of it in those terms. So why would they worry about a convergence that isn’t close to fruition?
In reality, that doom-and-gloom notion of the AV/IT convergence is never going to occur. Instead the convergence is exactly what the name suggests: two industries coming together and evolving into one.
What does that mean for technology managers as we move into the 2020s?
Why AV and IT Need Each Other
The biggest detriment to the relationship between AV integrators and their customers is a failure to communicate. The language IT pros use is not the same language the AV integrator uses; in some cases, the same words, phrases, and acronyms mean completely different things. That’s why MSPs are there to help on the IT side.
However, an MSP can’t simply start designing complicated AV systems. It’s two totally different disciplines. So increasingly you’ll see AV integration firms and MSPs partner in order to provide customers with a total solution. This is a great thing for technology managers, as you get the best from both worlds.
Here is how it works:
- AV Integrator A does its research and finds MSP B, an organization that it could work well with given both organizations’ strengths. They make an arrangement where each will recommend the other to clients when necessary.
- So, when MSP B is outfitting a new office that also needs digital signage and videoconferencing suite, they introduce the customer to AV Integrator A. When AV Integrator A is creating a communications suite that needs proper bandwidth, they introduce the customer to MSP B.
- Each firm now has an extra arm out there prospecting.
It can be more formal than that, of course.
In another model, MSP B may automatically contract AV Integrator A and vice versa, taking the customer out of it. There may be a finder’s fee that changes hands when one gets business from the other.
As a customer, you should encourage these types of relationships. You don’t want an MSP trying their hand a designing a videoconferencing system with little experience, any more than you want an integrator with little experience attempting to set up a network. The two should work hand-in-hand, and as the customer its your right to make sure they’re doing so.
Don’t settle for less. Drag the industries into a truce to ensure that your entire technology stack works – with AV and IT harmoniously converged.