Chris Southern, who heads up enterprise sales at Sahara AV, shares with us his unique insights into why there is a surge in demand for AV solutions from the business world.
Over the past few years the education sector has led the way in adoption of the latest innovations in AV tech. This isn’t surprising – their core audience is Generation Z, the post millennium babies who were swiping touchscreens whilst still in nappies! Headteachers quickly realised that to effectively engage this generation in learning they needed to adopt the same technology in the classroom.
However, as Gen Z gets older, and their forerunners, the millennials, are already in the workplace, the corporate sector is undergoing a massive awakening to the advantages of the latest AV tech. Coupled with the fact that the technology is getting easier to use, faster to install and simpler to support; at Sahara we’ve seen sales more than double over the past 12 months alone.
The disappearing generation gap
One of the main barriers to entry for corporate businesses from upgrading their in-house AV technology was the lack of adoption by end users. Unlike the digital natives, digital immigrants are often uncomfortable with new office tech and therefore reluctant to use it. For an IT Manager, there is nothing worse than installing the latest AV tech with all the interactive and collaborative bells and whistles, if employees are only going to use it as a glorified screen!
But the staff who are not digital natives are getting older, and as they start to leave the workplace, the natives will become the majority. They are unafraid to embrace the latest technologies to improve working practices. Due to this, complementary AV solutions are flourishing. For example, our Montage solution has made sharing information, data, and content in real-time from multiple devices, people, and locations – easy; simplifying meeting agendas and information sharing within the business. Couple this tech with our eBeam SmartMarker – an easily portable, digital whiteboard and smart pens – and you have a robust and interactive system for colleagues to efficiently share information and ideas.
According to a recent study, 78% of digital natives feel they can work more effectively with use of technology – hence the spiralling growth of AV installations within corporates.
It’s more than just a changing workforce – the latest AV technology is far more intuitive and easy to use than ever before. An interactive touchscreen that may once have required a high level of technical know-how and a detailed user manual, has been transformed into a walk-up-and-use collaborative display that anyone can use. Responding to today’s consumer tech, touchscreens now replicate the technology in the palm of your hand.
In addition, true-bonded capacitive touch is the latest advancement in touch technology, giving the most natural, responsive and accurate touch experience.
The Pro Series from Clevertouch is one of the most popular collaborative displays on the market and has been designed around the experience of the user and replicates the interface, which you use on any consumer device. It is also one of only two large format interactive touchscreens available with true bonded Capacitive Touch – the other being the Microsoft’s Surface Hub, which sits at the very top of the price range in this market place.
How do you resolve resource management and security?
Even when the end-users or business managers wanted to install a collaborative AV solution, often the specified products did not meet the required business requirement for facilities, IT, or security. The level of ongoing resource management and support required was deemed too resource-intensive or there was a fear that the company’s digital security might be compromised. The Pro-Series has overcome these challenges through the development of a number of unique new features.
A company’s security network is protected by allowing the android operating system to function in a layer separate to the network. The built-in LUX interface means users can still harness the Microsoft software suite as well as the software/apps included with the Pro Series. This is a massive benefit from a corporate point of view - it’s like putting a giant tablet into a meeting room that anyone can use independent of the network. However, if access to the network is required the user simply needs to use the built in PC or connect their laptop, thereby ensuring the screen is subject to the same network security controls as the user device.
In terms of the resource requirement, the newly launched Mobile Device Management tool enables IT and system managers to perform diagnostics and management of all screens across an estate, which includes management of essential security functions like memory wiping on shut down, removing or enabling apps/software. This central control of all devices across an estate has massive benefits in terms of time-saving, but also adds a further level of security.
Over-the-Air technology provides your Clevertouch with all the new features, bug fixes, and software/hardware updates, OTA lets you access to the latest firmware updates seamlessly ensuring smooth running on site. Previously, IT and system managers would have to run manual maintenance and software updates on individual screens. Clevertouch is the first interactive touchscreen brand to harness wireless technology in this this way.
These, combined with a 5-year on site de/re install manufacturer’s warranty, effectively means the system looks after itself.
I anticipate the corporate sector will see significant growth over the coming years both in the UK and in our export market. We are experiencing a massive hike in demand and specifiers are far more informed about AV technology than they were even just 12 months ago. Based on the conversations we’re having, there is a real demand and desire for companies to bring their AV solution bang up-to-date, often driven by the end-users. And now that the barriers to entry have been overcome, there is nothing stopping them and the repeat orders are echoing this.
Chris Southern heads up enterprise team at Sahara AV. He works with large organisations and consultants assisting them with their selection procedures and implementation of AV technology solutions. Chris has worked across a wide range of sectors with companies including Rolls Royce, Siemens, Kier construction, Anglian Water, Standard Bank, National Physics Labs, the NHS and the University of Cambridge, introducing solutions comprising of interactive touchscreens, wireless presentation, digital signage, Smart Marker, projector systems and video walls.
If you want to get in touch with Chris email him at firstname.lastname@example.org