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FEATURE: REGIONAL VOICES


The US national budget has been the subject of much political wrangling in recent months – but our latest survey finds causes for optimism, despite the various pressures that integrators continue to face


United States 2.4%


Annual GDP growth, Q4 2013 Source: US Commerce Department


STATE OF THE MARKET


Do you think


general levels of confidence in the US installation sector are higher or lower than six months ago?


INFLUENTIAL MOST


Regional economic situation National economic situation More affordable technology Competitor activity Legislation/regulations


INFLUENTIAL LEAST ‘A major influence (mostly negative, but positive


Higher – 56% The same – 44%


for some) is the convergence of adjacent or related industries/fields. Pre-convergence, IT companies were our competitors, but now we are competing against structured cable companies, signal/alarm companies, access/security companies, etc as all the related fields of the modern “smart building” begin overlapping more and more.’


DO YOU AGREE WITH THESE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE INDUSTRY? Strongly Agree


Consolidation in the US marketplace means we will continue to see fewer integration companies, but with more employees


There are no significant skill gaps in the US installation sector


My company is seeing a growing need to be conversant with green initiatives such as LEED and InfoComm STEP


In general, US installers are comfortable with the increasing amount of IT networking in AV installations


38 May 2014 Agree Neither Disagree Strongly Disagree DESIRED CHANGES


IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE WAY THE US INSTALLATION MARKET WORKS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?


‘End users should require advanced certifications from integrators.’


‘I’d increase our visibility. InfoComm is over 75 years old, yet many people in America – even American businesses – don’t understand we are a separate industry. Plus, the lack of knowledge of our field also feeds the skills gap because, without pro-AV integration as a degree option or training option in education, many potential employees don’t know we’re a viable career path.’


0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% ‘More ability to bid on big government projects.’ www.installation-international.com 4.1% EXTERNAL FACTORS


HOW INFLUENTIAL (EITHER POSITIVELY OR NEGATIVELY) ARE THE FOLLOWING FACTORS ON YOUR BUSINESS?


Budget deficit, 2013 (as share of GDP) Source: US Treasury Department


ENTERING THE MARKET


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A MANUFACTURER LOOKING TO ENTER THE US AV INSTALLATION MARKET?


‘Make sure you have knowledgeable sales people as feet on the ground in each major region of the US and ensure that


they have the proper technical and design support that they need for proper questions. I don’t recommend pushing the


product line with just a single sales point of contact for all of the US then relying on the European work schedule to get the support they need.’


‘Understand the marketplace: customer needs, scalability, response times, customer immediacy. Customers can’t


afford downtime. Have a global perspective (manufacturing, purchasing and in-country support). Standardisation is not always the best route.’


‘Don’t come in with blinders on. This is a tough market, with no real room for newcomers.’


…AND TO AN INTEGRATOR LOOKING TO ENTER THE MARKET?


‘Expect high competition on pricing. Exceptional post- installation customer support is mandatory. Know/research your geographic area of operations and your competition within that area. Don’t stray once determined.’


‘Buckle up! Run skinny.’


‘Good luck. Many markets are saturated with integrators and most US industry analysts are predicting major contraction of integration in the coming years if all stays status quo.’


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