Planning AV for New Spaces: Be Part of the Beginning
Last summer, I was asked to join a dealer on a customer visit to talk about AV needs. The visit was at the client’s new corporate office, which was a newly renovated space. Upon arriving, I took a good look around and saw that it was a beautiful space. Carpet was already in, paint was on the walls and they were clearly down to just doing touch ups. Two weeks away from occupancy, they now wanted to discuss their AV needs and also to let us know that they had little budget left.
I saw a huge conference room table with sixty gorgeous chairs, covered with plastic to protect it from the touch ups being done. I just had to ask about it:
Me: “New table?”
Client: “Yes, it’s new and selected just for this room. Isn’t it beautiful?”
Me: “Yes, it is indeed beautiful. When did you order this table and how much did it cost you?”
It had been ordered more than 18 months prior and the cost was six figures. The huge conference table was clearly the focal point of the new space, yet the AV systems that would make this table really shine were considered last. In the AV business, this is all too typical. Customers often think about carpet, paint, furniture and window coverings before they even consider AV in their space.
Our industry talks about the experience that AV brings into a space and the power of delivering those experiences, yet all too often customers place AV as an afterthought to their renovation plans. We need to reach our audience – who is thinking about their new spaces – and reach them within that 18-month window of time to become part of the overall renovation planning. I contacted a few space planners and asked if they consider technology as a part of their planning. Most of them don’t have technology on their radar – in fact, they seem to be a bit intimidated by it. This can be a positive opportunity for many of us to do outreach, making them aware of the partnerships that can be formed with AV integrators. Over the past few years some savvy integrators have partnered with furniture manufactures and have been able to carve out a nice new vertical business.
Most projects that have an architect will have AV as a part of the overall project. What about medium projects where a space planner is hired, but a furniture vendor hasn’t been selected? This is a possible new source of business and partnerships. Wouldn’t it be great to be a part of the project at the beginning, rather than continuing to be an afterthought?
I’d love to hear about your experiences. What have you done to make AV part of the planning?