What is your experience at AVI-SPL with AV integrations in the government market?
I have been with AVI-SPL for over five years and have worked with all of our integration offices to develop a sales and marketing plan for their regions. My focus is on tracking the budgets and contracts for the government but command and control centers and conference rooms make up the bulk of the type of installations we perform in this market.
How long have you been working in this particular market?
I have worked in government market for 12 years. I have attended various AV and VTC technical courses throughout my time in the AV industry.
What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?
My greatest achievement to date really is the sales channel we have created at AVI-SPL. No other AV integrator has the number of customers, installations and success stories we have created here. This is a very challenging industry and we are faced with some tough economic times ahead, but the system that we have created qualifies and executes business in a risk adverse manner.
What is the top concern from the government market when it comes to AV installations?
Ease of use is probably the biggest concern, especially in the Department of Defense, where there is a lot of personnel turnover. The ability to continuously train people as the technology is rapidly changing complicates the design of systems even further. Creating a system design that is flexible and expandable like we do here is really the key to the success of any AV project.
Are there any emerging technologies that you feel best equip this market’s needs?
I wouldn’t necessarily call these technologies emerging; however, they are existing technologies that I see growth in their demand. The use of fiber network backbones, blade computing and wireless technologies are in high demand based on the security, flexibility and efficiency they bring to a system. They have become more affordable over time and the cost factor is outweighed by the added benefits these technologies bring to the table.
What do you identify as the greatest challenges for AV systems integrators that focus on the government market?
Finding the personnel to dedicate to this market is the greatest challenge. The AV industry is challenging enough due to the technical nature of the sales and installations. The additional requirement to find people with experience in procurement and contracting really creates an environment where companies have to train and educate their own government sales force.
In light of the economic challenges AV integrators are facing, have you seen a change in the type of technology being requested?
Due to the annual budget planning requirements for government, the current economic hardships haven’t hit this market yet. With the first new administration in eight years preparing to take office, the future budget is a topic that we do track. We have seen government taking on a stronger role in several areas, especially within the financial markets, defense, Homeland Security and possibly with the automotive market.
How do you foresee the future of AV integration in the government sector changing?
AV technologies will become network centric solutions, and I foresee AV budgets for preventative maintenance, service and support growing into separate line items in government IT budgets. The government has invested heavily in technology over the past 10 years and in order to maintain this existing equipment, dedicated budgets will have to be created. We have seen many agencies hire AV managers to oversee this very task as their AV infrastructures have grown. This is good for everyone as the more attention given to the management of the AV resources the better chance the equipment and services will function more appropriately when used.