The AV industry faced a slowdown due the ongoing pandemic. However, as the situation has improved, and as businesses are adapting to the new normal, the demand for AV solutions is increasing across industries. According to the AVIXA AV industry covid-19 impact survey, respondents experiencing negative impact declined significantly in the first week of May 2020. With corporate offices, retail spaces, travel and hospitality opening up and traditional industries such as healthcare and education undergoing digital transformation, businesses are adapting newer ways to reduce human touchpoints by intelligent use of connected AV and digital signage solutions.
With the declining effect, the AV industry is all set to embrace the opportunities and challenges presented post covid.
With the corona pandemic entering a new phase, the countries are taking steps towards deconfinement. At the same time, businesses across various industries are experiencing a new phase of uncertainty. The social distancing, the scare of contracting corona have made it difficult for businesses to reach out to customers with ease.
In such situations, the question that is strongly lingering in the minds of the business community is: How will we reach our audience?
An exclusive answer for this could be through “Audio-visual Solutions (AV)”!
AVIXA’s CEO David Labuskes strongly supported this in his opening keynote speech at InfoComm Connected. He advocated that the AV industry will inevitably play a critical role in creating a “better normal” post-pandemic.
But, what are the new opportunities the post-pandemic world offers for the AV industry?
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), “Passenger numbers were expected to reach 4.72 billion in 2020, 4 percent more from the previous year. In 2019, the passenger numbers showed 4.54 billion and it was itself a record year.” As more people travel and the COVID-19 safety measures are to be taken seriously, airports are reinventing themselves with audiovisual (AV) technology as a foundational design element.
As the aviation industry and the airport authorities renovate and upgrade terminal facilities with modern stores, floor-to-ceiling windows, and dreamy skylights, there is a growing market for bright, big displays that show more than just arrival/departure times and the direction to claim baggage. Digital canvasses can entertain passengers and make airports less stressful and more enjoyable.
According to the Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA) report, “the transportation sector spent about $11.5 billion on AV products and services in 2019. And the investment is expected to grow almost 8 percent a year through 2023, worldwide.”
With such huge numbers, there is a need to create, manage, distribute, and execute real-time on and off-board generic and commercial passenger information on the fleet, in stations and at stops. And all of these are to be performed while focusing on the customers’ safety and keeping COVID-19 at bay.
Audio Visual Technology can take care of all these aspects of passenger communication and passenger safety through digital signage creation, onboard audio and visual communications.
The progress of the COVID-19 pandemic has generated profound changes in the entertainment routines of the populations. A survey conducted by S&P in the United States revealed, “As a result of the confinement, 52% of users were watching more free access videos on YouTube, while 18% had decided to subscribe to a new streaming content platform, and 17% were considering re-subscribing to a previously cancelled OTT service.”
Although the strict quarantines may gradually mutate into a new normality, the comfort and safety at the home can only boost the demands for connected TVs, OTT subscriptions, and any audiovisual devices associated with it such as background music systems, home theatre solutions.
While the challenge remains, the AV industry has given way to advertisers to adapt to the new normal. Advertisers will take advantage of this shift and will incorporate video walls instead of kiosks or implement digital audiovisual channels into their strategy. They will particularly target audio, video & connected TV campaigns to an audience that prefers online shopping, and home delivery, instead of traditional shopping methods.
Some of these solutions deliver useful analytics such as the number of views of the signage content, length of view and even capturing age, gender and mood of viewers.
According to a study, “traditional waiting areas would mostly stress out the patients when filled with old magazines and jargon-filled medical posters”. However, a modern audio-visual system can mitigate this issue. Alongside, it can also contribute to the highest safety level of the patients.
We are not just talking about the video walls in the lobby. But, beyond that. AV systems are transforming the entire healthcare industry by introducing various trends.
- Telemedicine trends: Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a study that shows the use of telemedicine services is rising in communities. As this trend continues to develop, this demand can be fulfilled by AV technology and systems.
- Medical education: Medical education such as professional education and education about healthy habits to the patients, provides numerous benefits for patients and healthcare providers alike. However, only great audiovisual systems can bring out positive outcomes. Installing interactive displays and sound systems can help to transform traditional video conferencing into an immersive educational experience.
- Healthcare administrations: Interactive technology is an important modern amenity for any organization. Communication systems and digital signages in healthcare serve as the backbone of every hospital and clinic. These can create a comfortable experience for patients and their loved ones.
- Healthcare audio systems: Hospitals and healthcare facilities are busy places. With custom audio solutions such as paging systems, virtual answering service systems, AV solutions can help you make life easier for healthcare faculty.
The pandemic has certainly shown us alternate ways of teaching and learning. And the audio-visual (AV) technology is emerging as a key component in this process. From basic lumen projectors in classrooms to high-brightness projectors in auditoriums and video conferencing tools that foster greater collaboration among institutions, AV technology is creating an interactive and engaging educational experience for students.
With more than 60% of students being visual learners and most of the students enjoying the interactive learning that uses audio-visual technology, audio-visual learning methods have already begun to advance the education process.
If broadcasting one to many is needed, streaming could be our answer. With universities looking at providing online learning due to pandemic situations, they need to deliver distance learning via one to many.
For training, lectures and learning delivered to hundreds of students in various verticals, high-quality streaming with eye-catching graphics within a secure environment, is the perfect solution.
With an estimated 41% of employees likely working remotely at least for some time post-pandemic, businesses will still need to ensure employees have the equipment required to undertake their daily activities effectively.
Most companies have digitised at least some part of their business to protect employees. However, there is immense scope for the utilisation of AV technology in office spaces. We have listed a few here:
- There is a need to upgrade and retrofit meeting spaces. This enables effective communication and collaboration with remote workers and external customers while keeping everyone safe. For efficient conferencing among their employees and management, businesses will need to review their video, audio and microphone equipment.
- The need for wireless and contactless technology to reduce the touching of communal devices is prominent. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) rooms mean meetings can be conducted without multiple users interacting with communal control hardware. BYOM (Bring Your Own Meeting) 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.
- Prompts to control capacity and promote social distancing.
restaurants are trying to innovate the customer experience by placing AV at the heart of the journeyAudiovisual technologies are undoubtedly becoming a mainstay of many hospitality environments. Today’s tech-savvy travellers expect video displays, touchscreens, and mobile connectivity to be abundant and resourceful.
With the implementation of advanced technologies such as hotel audio systems, digital signage and interactive technology, video walls, self-check-in kiosks, the hospitality industry is providing a safer and happier environment to travellers.
For instance, when kitchens of the restaurants were forced to close due to the corona crisis, AV solutions were effectively introduced in drive-through solutions. This trend and the opportunity to AV products will likely continue even after the normalcy returns.
The global AV industry is expanding rapidly. It has the potential to reach a market of $325 billion in 2024.
While the growth arrow is pointing upward in a strong growing global market, there are always going to be challenges ahead.
“The AV industry in the most affected areas of Asia is still reeling from the coronavirus outbreak. LED and light shows scheduled have been cancelled or postponed. AV-wise projects are getting postponed too. However, the installation jobs are ongoing. But, the delivery dates of on-going projects are being delayed. The optimistic view is that business will return to normal soon”
The attendance figures of Integrated Systems Europe, an exhibition that showcases the world’s leading technology innovators and AV solutions providers, which was organised in February 2020 were down from 81,000 to 52,000. The drop may be attributed to the pandemic, as well as Storm Ciara. The Geneva International Motor Show, Mobile World Congress, Cisco Live, and many more events were cancelled.
The cancelled AV-wise events are certainly posing challenges to the industry. However, the brighter side is the ongoing installation demands for commercial and residential solutions.
Another significant challenge is short-term contracts or projects. In connection to ongoing installation demands, most of the AV projects are short-term. These projects typically don’t cover any kind of service contracts.
The statistics show that 9% of AV companies receive less than 5% of their revenue from longer contracts; 5% report that 5-10% revenue is from such contracts; and only 3% of AV companies report revenue of 11-20% from such contracts.
Coping with the end-users changing demands and expectations is also a massive challenge as the protocols are subject to change very often. Therefore, the AV industry should be adaptable to create content and solutions that the crisis and post-crisis situations demand. For instance, solutions that are useful now might not be so when the workforce is back in the office. Hence, they need to be agile while providing the best of services to their customers.
Challenges in the AV industry are ongoing. However, the situation is taking an upward turn with new recommendations and measures every day. Travel, public gatherings, and the way we work are bringing in the new normality with a whiff of sanitiser and the need to maintain a safe distance.
As businesses adapt to the new normal, they will adopt AV to engage with new customers. the AV industry can help businesses across various industries to open up to new possibilities and restart their operations safely post Covid-19.