Opportunities for the AV industry post Covid-19

Covid-19 has had a massive impact on the world.

Like many sectors, the AV industry had to adapt quickly to restrictions on work without impacting service levels. However, an estimated 57% of AV providers in AVIXA’s weekly Impact survey (fielded 9th - 10th June), perceived a negative impact in the preceding week. This was the first time the figure had fallen below 60% since AVIXA began collecting impact data in March.

While the situation was completely unprecedented and the AV industry took a hit, it became apparent that AV technology was integral to businesses being able to adjust and futureproof themselves.

This is supported by AVIXA’s CEO David Labuskes who suggested, in his opening keynote speech at InfoComm Connected, that the AV industry will play an important role in creating a “better normal” emerging from the pandemic.

He added, “AV was made for this. Everything about the audio-visual industry is about connecting people to people. If you’re doing that remotely, you’re reliant upon and leveraging audio-visual technology.”

With lockdown easing and the world acclimatising to a new normal, what opportunities are there for the AV industry post Covid-19?

We spoke with Jenny Hicks, Midwich Group Head of Technology, and Chris Southern, Midwich General Sales Manager for Enterprise Solutions, to get their viewpoints.

1. Upgrading and retrofitting meeting spaces
2. Wireless and contactless technology
3. Capacity management with digital signage for social distancing prompts
4. Better equipment to work remotely
5. Streaming
6. Sound masking

1. Upgrading and retrofitting meeting spaces

With social distancing required for safety, many businesses will be looking at only returning a fraction of their staff to their office spaces. This means they will need to look at their UC provision to ensure that their meeting spaces are up to requirement to enable effective collaboration with remote workers and external customers while keeping all safe. 

This also sees an opportunity to upgrade meeting spaces as many only have a screen. For efficient conferencing, businesses will need to review their video, audio and microphone equipment.

2. Wireless and contactless technology

As businesses look to reduce touching of communal devices, there are many options available including wireless, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM).

BYOD rooms mean presentations and meetings can be conducted without multiple users interacting with communal control hardware.

BYOM enables staff to seamlessly connect with the existing conferencing hardware using their own devices and gives a unified consistent experience regardless of which conferencing platform is hosting your meeting.

3. Capacity management with digital signage for social distancing prompts

Many buildings are investing in occupancy count solutions linked to digital signage to control capacity and promote social distancing.

Some of these solutions can continue to deliver useful analytics beyond the social distancing guidelines such as number of views of the signage content, length of view and even capturing age, gender and mood of viewers.

4. Better equipment to work remotely

With an estimated 41% of employees likely working remotely at least some of the time post pandemic, businesses will need to ensure employees have the equipment required to undertake their daily activities effectively.

Jenny said: “We've all learnt a lot about what we can achieve using video during this time – I think we will see a dramatic decrease in business travel even when it is not to follow government guidelines.  With this will come a need for professional home presentation set ups.  Home studio style set ups with chroma key, lighting, professional sound and multiple cameras, may replace the webcam and desk solutions of today.”

Chris added: “Collaboration between onsite and remote workers is now more important than ever and doesn’t just include a screen and camera. For effective engagement, interactive screens with multiway whiteboarding and inking features are ideal solutions for ensuring everyone gets to add their input.”

5. Streaming

UC platforms are great for group discussions but if broadcasting one to many is required, then streaming is the answer.

With universities looking at providing a ‘hybrid’ style of learning - both online and in-person – successfully, they need to deliver distance learning via one to many.

For training, lectures and learning delivered to hundreds of students, in various verticals like manufacturing, then high-quality streaming with eye-catching graphics within a secure environment, is the perfect solution.

6. Sound masking

With the increase in use of video expected, open plan offices may struggle with new levels of noise pollution from desk to desk.

Sound masking can help create a better environment for those trying to focus on a work task and offer privacy for those on conference calls at their workspace.

Labuskes stated, “Everyone is going to rely on this industry to help them engage with their customers differently” and we agree. While the world adjusts to the new normal, the AV industry can help businesses adapt and restart their operations safely post Covid-19.

View and download our new guide on ‘How Technology Can Help with Social Distancing Requirements’ now, or for more information on any of the solutions mentioned, please contact your account manager.

How Technology Can Help with Social Distancing Requirements Guide