There’s been a lot of celebration surrounding InfoComm International’s announcement last week that it was rebranding as the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, or AVIXA, for short.
Many who were there for the announcement—and even those who followed it on social media or heard about it through news reports—rightfully heaped praise upon AVIXA leadership for the move, a transition AVIXA leadership believes will carry the association through another 50 years.
One area that’s generated some level of confusion related to AVIXA– including for me– was its stance, which is outlined in the association’s frequently asked questions page, regarding the relationship between AV and IT.
Some were surprised that the moniker AVIXA doesn’t somehow include a reference to “IT” since AV-IT convergence has been such a focus for the integration market over the last decade. Meanwhile, AVIXA folks make a point to emphasize it’s an AV association.
In explaining what the name AVIXA signifies, director of communications Brad Grimes wrote, “AV is who we are. Not IT, not even a subset of IT. Audio and video are the proud building blocks of everything this industry is about. It was true in 1939 when we were founded, and it’s true today.” He also wrote about how association members create integrated experiences [the “IX” in “AVIXA”] and how the word “association” highlights the fact it’s a non-profit group comprised of volunteers.
So, what about AV-IT convergence? Grimes clarifies that embracing AV-IT convergence and maintaining an AV identity aren’t mutually exclusive.
In a phone interview, Grimes reinforced that “AV utilizes IT,” but that the industries have always been and will continue to be separate entities. So, while AV integrators will install projects that incorporate AV over IP and utilize remote monitoring, those efforts represent AV work that uses IT as a backbone.
“AVIXA recognizes IT is one of the building blocks, as are audio, video and control,” says Grimes. “From an industry standpoint, AV is not and never will be a subset of IT.”
He clarified that while the AV and IT industries are separate entities, the technologies necessarily work together to create what AVIXA has called “exceptional experiences.”
“Experiences are enabled by technology,” says Grimes. “[Integrators are] creating AV experiences. To create those in a connected world, they’ll utilize IT.”
Relationship Between AV and IT
During the press conference when InfoComm International became AVIXA on Sept. 13, board president Gary Hall of Cisco Systems said, “AV is the pinnacle of the user experience,” noting “this is where everything comes together.”
The brand change, says Hall, marks “the next milestone for this organization” and is a move that allows AVIXA and its members to “deliver lasting value in our industry.” In meetings with media members after the announcement, Hall noted that board members “had a long debate” about whether AV is part of IT before deciding the industries were separate entities.
“We’re tangential to it,” says Hall, Cisco’s leader of federal strategy, planning and operations. “We’re something different. We’re about the experience.”
Craig Janssen, chairman of the AVIXA Leadership Search Committee and managing director of Idibri, told media members, “We’re trying to sell that integrated experience. That will raise the bar in all areas.”
Rebecca Onchi, AVIXA director-at-large and director of technology solutions at PayPal, sees the space “evolving and transforming,” saying AV is about “creating the user experience and IT is behind that. This is an organic change that’s been coming along for a while. I see this as convergence.”
AVIXA executive director and CEO David Labuskes sees the association as “about the possibilities of AV and IT and all the new ways we can be innovative.”
“Eighty years ago, people had a common need,” he said during the panel discussions with media after the brand change announcement. “All we’re doing is recognizing that need is different today.”
This article was originally posted on sister site Commercial Integrator.