As workplaces continue to evolve, the challenges on system integrators to provide the right technology for those customers increases greatly.
Most of the companies that applied to be 2016 CI Industry Leaders expressed a proficiency in the corporate space, showing we may never truly be done bringing offices into the future. Adtech CFO Erik Waters says the company has had “increasing success focusing less on the technology itself and more on the benefits of use.
Clients are looking for an understanding of what the systems will do to increase their productivity.” Waters describes Adtech as “process- and system-focused,” noting the company “continually invest[s] in new software and process tools to improve collaboration and efficiency.
Inventory management and scheduling are two biggest challenges, especially dealing with changing customer timelines. The biggest opportunity is in service and recurring monitoring relationships.” Advance Technology president Rob Simopoulos sees the shift to open-concept workspaces going strong.
“To work with these environments we have been deploying huddle and conference room technology that provide synergy within the space,” he says.
“Our proactive service model allows our remote engineers to detect and react to hardware failures before the customer identifies that there is a problem. Once [the problem is] detected, our remote engineering team is able to diagnose and often able to repair the problem remotely without the need to roll a truck. Our customers are benefiting significantly in the limited system downtime and the quick repair we provide through this program.”
“Advanced AV marketing director Marina Gregory sees strength in the company’s ability “to join with and work in harmony with client design and implementation teams. Post-sales expertise in the AV/IT implementation, experienced project management and technical service support are all capabilities required to implement technologies across global enterprises. Managed services and our network operations center have provided operational client feedback, which allows us to design better solutions moving forward.”
Advanced AV also offers a Network Operations Center and AV as a service, including cloud-based technology, is a focus as well. Anderson Audio Visual VP of operations Chris Bosworth describes the corporate market as “robust and growing.”
“We feel we are strong in this market because we have partnered with the right customers, and built strong relationships with these customers,” he says. “Our single biggest opportunity is in our managed services offerings. We are heavily focused on growing this market segment, specifically the remote monitoring portion of managed services.”
AVI Systems marketing communications manager Kelly Perkins finds increased demand in the corporate space for UC integration within the meeting space and utilization reporting and analytics. AVI’s account base “continues to encourage AVI’s innovation in how people meet and where they meet,” she says.
“Decentralization of workgroups and the democratization of video and collaboration tools continue to drive demand for simple, pervasive, room designs that include software-based collaboration tools and platforms.”
“Additionally, enterprises are continuing to look to AV and video as a core communications infrastructure and along with the budgets come the responsibility to demonstrate the positive impact of workforce productivity and the need to lower operating costs,” says Perkins.
“More and more, AVI is being asked to address these issues with creative and comprehensive applications that streamline workflow integration and provide analytics on knowledge worker utilization, system availability and productivity analytics.”
In short, says AVI-SPL public relations specialist Nathan Legg, “the corporate market is hungry to meet their collaboration needs,” including solution and system standards, global delivery capabilities, unifying their collaboration solutions and proactive monitoring, management and maintenance of their solutions.
AVI-SPL’s global team “understand[s] the current and future needs of our customers, are trained on the newest innovations coming to market, and have the advantage of working with an innovative services team generating new collaboration solutions like UnifyME and Symphony,” says Legg.
Dennis Pitzl, owner of Concepts AV Integration, says his company is focused on service, starting with accommodating all clients’ service calls on the same day they come in.
“Our strongest market is corporate,” he says. “We find that the clients are demand-ing the ability to have extremely simple to operate systems. They want to be able to have a meeting with little to no effort.”
Kevin McKay, national sales manager at Genesis Integration, notes, “Genesis is shifting our focus away from equipment and focusing more on the value-added services that we can provide to our clients. From our initial engagement with our clients, we strive to become ‘outcome-focused.’ The collaboration technologies we provide have become an integral part of the strategic initiatives of our clients therefore we are focused on managing the complete lifecycle of the solutions we offer.”
Bruce Kaufmann, president and CEO of Human Circuit, says “our customers demand more authenticity” in their installations so the company’s sales/engineering approach to needs analysis and project programming “makes our project approach unique.”
Tim Hennen, president of enterprise sales and engineering at IVCi, says corporate clients “are demanding innovative designs that adhere to standard, strong project management skills and ongoing services. IVCi deploys many highly qualified engineers whose job it is to know the technology, to design proven technology into our solutions always with a focus on ease of use and ongoing service.”
“Clients are demanding a very positive full-project lifecycle experience. From needs analysis and design to project management and installation, commissioning and after-sales service level agreements.”—Tim St. Louis, Sharp’s Audio Visual
Robbie Danko, marketing manager at Low Voltage Contractors, notes the corporate market “has always been good for LVC. Unlike most systems companies, we often work directly with the owner or general contractor. There are any examples of how this works for LVC. We were the fire alarm subcontractor on a number of high-rise buildings in Minneapolis and were brought in during the planning stages. LVC produced construction drawings for the owner before the projects were out to contractors for bidding.”
John Mitton, VP of AV group and CTO at Red Thread Spaces, says “collaboration solutions” are the company’s greatest strength. “We are an integrated solutions company and are able to integrate space and technology to provide a great experience for our clients,” he says, noting they use LEAN processing and workspace management techniques to succeed.
Derek Paquin, principal at Sensory Technologies, says the corporate market is tough but lucrative. “Clients are demand-ing increased efficiency and productivity through collaboration solutions. Our consultative approach and focus on embracing the technology allows us to partner with the client for success.”
Sharp’s Audio Visual executive VP of sales and marketing Tim St. Louis also emphasized client demands. “Clients are demanding a very positive full-project lifecycle experience,” he says. “From needs analysis and design to project management and installation, commissioning and after-sales service level agreements. We have spent the past year focused at every level of our company developing revenue from services. It is a priority and is engrained in our corporate culture.”
Spinitar implemented a new ERP system a few years ago and also self-directed work teams (made up of sales, PM, designer, associate designer, and project foreman) that are responsible for their own financials, while assuring an exceptional customer experience and implemented a LEAN team, now having two individuals that have gone through formal LEAN training, with the charge to ID opportunities to eliminate waste, redundancy, wait time, duplication of efforts, etc., making for a more efficient organization.
The biggest challenge, says principal Jeff Irvin, is remaining relevant. “With many manufacturers developing direct relationships with end-user customers, vast amounts of information available to prospects and customers, and increasing competition from EC’s, consultants, and other low-voltage contractors, relevancy is a huge issue for the future,” he says.
“We are focused on strategies that focus on providing value to our customers, outside of traditional AV products and services (i.e. cloud solutions, remote monitoring, solutions addressing virtualization and mobilization, etc.).”
Unified AV marketing manager Lea Johnson also focuses on client demands, saying “they want managed services.” The biggest challenge for UAV, she says, is “convincing network administrators to take advantage of technological advances.”
Verrex VP of marketing and business development Theresa Hahn says the company has seen a “noteworthy rise in streaming and recording capabilities in corporate communal areas — town hall spaces, cafeterias — as clients focus on uniform messaging across a remote workforce and offices to build a stronger sense of community and engaged culture.”
The past year has been “outstanding” for Westbury National in the corporate market, says sales manager Brock McGinnis. It included “a broad mix of complex corporate auditoriums and presentation spaces, divisible/combinable conferencing facilities and hundreds of simple meeting and huddle rooms,” he says.
“Clients are demanding ease-of-use, high reliability and BYOD or highly customized, purpose-built meeting, conferencing and gathering spaces. We’re well positioned because of our substantial in-house engineering and programming capabilities as well as our very responsive service organization.”
Whitlock national marketing manager Ellen Hickson says the company is seeing “a continuing demand across the corporate landscape for cloud, mobile and hybrid solutions in 2016, along with increasing interest in Microsoft Surface Hub and Skype.”
“Our Enterprise Delivery Model ensures alignment of business goals with project schedules, expert coordination with the general contractor and other essential trades and a communications framework to keep everybody informed at every step of the journey,” she says. “Our promise and commitment does not stop once an implementation has finished, because we’ve already planned for technology adoption through cloud-based training and in room support.”
With Yorktel’s guidance, organizations worldwide have successfully harnessed the full power of this environment, creating ecosystems founded on flexible policies that embrace new business models, transparency, collaboration and community building, diversity, and the consumerization of technology.
Application development, coupled with vertical market integration into UCC platforms has allowed Yorktel to not only extend its footprint into vertical markets, but to also establish a leadership position.
“Several years ago, when video communications began earning widespread acceptance, we realized that it was only a matter of time when video would no longer be used solely for traditional calls from behind a desk or conference room, but rather for practical business applications such as remote patient care,” says Michael Beaudoin.