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Markets: Distributor Focus – Poland

The education market remains strong for many Polish distributors and installers

settled, credit and finance terms are the subject of greater flexibility. “On a daily basis, we are usually working with traditional credit terms,” says Kielar- Nowak. “However, when working on more challenging contracts we are frequently asked about lengthening the payment terms, which is always the subject of individual negotiation with the customer.”

visual display technologies at the top of the pile. Citing increased demand for advertising applications, Tuczynski observes that “LED technology has been developing very rapidly”. Increased availability of large LED media can be linked to two primary factors: “Prices are going down [at the same time as] the products are being enhanced.” Similarly, Piotr Wierzbicki from projector specialist Optoma Europe remarks: “In some cases, bigger installations are switched towards public displays and videowalls. The larger installations are also driven by the European football championship.” As well as highlighting the trend towards LED deployments, Klonowski pinpoints “a great interest in permanent comprehensive installations using multimedia projection systems. Increasingly, these are used not only in conference rooms or TV studios, but in museums and all kinds of exhibitions as well”. Elsewhere, Klonowski identifies the popularity of plasma and LCD monitors for installations in offices, banks and other commercial public facilities.

There were also multiple allusions to interactive whiteboards and their positive contribution to the education market, which is evidently an important one for many Polish

distributors and installers. “We have to mention the education sector and the interactive products, such as interactive whiteboards, which are enhancing the work of both teachers and students. The reason for that development is the possibility of financing the supply of products from the funds provided by EU projects,” says Kielar-Nowak. The importance of the education market was underlined by Jerzy Gil, president of the board/managing director for AV.Net, which serves as a dealer for some brands (including Loewe, Sharp, Denon) and a distributor for others (JVC, Extron, Mitsubishi Electric). “For [growth of the] education sector, EU support is essential; for home cinema, it is the continuous increase of the Polish citizens’ income,” observes Gil. Other discernible trends – many of which appear to cut across applications and market sectors – include increased demand for the streaming of audio and video content, ‘smart’ TV systems, iOS/Android- based control technology, and wireless system implementation in general.

Market changes and finance In terms of distribution arrangements, the general consensus is that the Polish market has registered few significant

‘Poland is not affected that much directly by the credit crunch and unstable Euro

currency’ Kris Bocian, AV4U

changes of late. In particular, notes Leszko, set-ups for the “big brands are rather stable. It is rare (but not impossible) that they change distributor – because they are strong.” “Service of the biggest brands in Poland is stable,” echoes Tuczynski, adding: “Manufacturers often consolidate the service with the distribution channels of their brands. It is not uncommon for distributors and installers to be responsible for the same area.”

On a related note, Wierzbicki confirms that the Polish AV market remains decidedly diverse with regard to its deployment of distribution models: “Some brands operate only with a direct dealer/integrator network; others use the distributor- dealer model. There are also mixed models using both distributor-dealer and direct dealer approaches. The general tendency is to have direct touch with AV dealers and integrators as they are [the key chains] during a project – from the design stage to the completed installation.”

But while high-profile distribution arrangements appear to be fairly

Tuczynski notes that Digiservice has been offering “advantageous conditions of financial settlements for our regular customers and partners”, while Bel Aqustic’s Leszko observes that he can “only offer terms similar to what I get from my partners. If they change terms I must respond, and lately it is a one-way process – shorter payment terms.”

Maturing market

In parallel with Poland’s increased presence on the global stage since the early Noughties, the overriding impression is of a country whose pro- AV sector is now reaching maturity. Multiple contributors alluded to strong interest in new technologies, including audio networking and high-end visual display systems – a trend underlined by the world-class installations found in the new football stadiums.

While there are those who would like to see Poland adopt the euro at some point in the future, retention of a national currency has shielded the country from some of the global slowdown’s worst effects. For pro- install, these favourable circumstances dovetail neatly with an install business that is continuing to blossom across segment and sector. IE

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32 IE May 2012

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