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Markets: Distributor Focus – Poland Goals in sight

The forthcoming Euro 2012 championship – to be shared with Ukraine – has provided a catalyst for major new installation projects in Poland. David Davies reports on a country whose progress is, for better or worse, fundamentally connected with the fortunes of the wider European project

Trias SA served as the official technology partner and general contractor of ‘tele-technical’ systems for Gdansk’s PGE Arena

championships on new infrastructural endeavours can be both significant and enduring. While new stadium developments are often the most salient symptoms, the benefits transcend the construction industry to encompass retail, hospitality and many other vital contributors to a nation’s economy. Poland is a case in point. In a few weeks’ time, it will co-host, with Ukraine, the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, otherwise known as Euro 2012. Speak to AV professionals in the country, and it is clear that preparations for the event have necessitated considerable investment in new and existing facilities by both government and European bodies. The result has been a series of rewarding projects that have helped to enliven the sector through a period that might otherwise have been


characterised by economic uncertainty.

rom South Africa to Germany to China, the motivational effect of major sporting

Indeed, it is difficult to underestimate the role played by European Union money since Poland became a member of the EU in 2004. Access to EU cash has helped to stabilise an economy that escaped many of the worst effects of the 2008-10 global recession. Nonetheless, serious problems remain: unemployment remains high at around the 12% mark, while inflation is another persistent concern. In 2012 – and in common with many of its European neighbours – the Polish government is striving to balance deficit-reduction policy with measures intended to stimulate renewed business activity. One imagines, therefore, that the administration could be rather enthusiastic for the arrival of Euro 2012 – an event that should deliver a boost to both national morale and Poland’s profile on the world stage.

Although there is fulsome recognition of the country’s current challenges, most distributors and installers who

spoke to IE did not appear to be overly preoccupied by the economic situation. Certainly, there is a feeling that Poland’s retention of its own currency, the zloty, has served to mitigate some of the worst effects of the eurozone crisis. “Luckily, Poland is not affected that much directly by the credit crunch and unstable euro currency, [and as a result] we still observe some growth of GDP, which gives a glimmer of hope to all of us involved in the AV industry in Poland,” says Kris Bocian of independent AV consultancy AV4U. Zbigniew Klonowski, president of the board at AV solutions provider Trias SA – which works with brands including Christie, Extron, NEC, Dactronics and Panasonic – is also upbeat. Reporting a busy first half, he expects that the second half of 2012 will register “stable growth with an upward trend”. In terms of individual company activity levels, most contributors suggested that business was at least equal to the same point in 2011. Work

Key points

. Poland has been protected from many of the worst effects of 2008-10 global crisis, thanks in part to long-term EU funding initiatives

. Overall economic activity has been boosted by this summer’s Euro 2012 football championship, to be co-hosted with Ukraine

. The distribution sector is relatively stable, with few significant changes during the past 12 months

. New visual display solutions are among the headline trends

. Education remains an important driver of new installation projects, many involving the specification of IWB technology

IE May 2012 29

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