Everyone knows that digital signage has taken its rightful place in business; it’s no longer a nice-to-have but an absolute necessity. The pandemic has helped digital signage prove its worth by letting us keep our distance while facilitating the distribution of information. It has created reliable and sometimes fanciful centers of focus for every population. Digital communication is everywhere, and it isn’t going away — that’s great news for our industry. 

Even though much has been written about the most important aspect of digital communication — the content — not much has been mentioned about the untapped potential of combining it with local, state and national governments. Of course, there is the obvious opportunity of working with governments in matters of public safety and health communication, but here we’re looking at a completely different aspect: ways integrators can provide value to government buildings through art. If you’re looking for possible ways to increase your value to your potential government clients, this one’s for you. And while this blog is focused on the situation in the U.S., it’s meant for the entire AV community to get us thinking about ways to increase our value. 

Here’s what you need to know:

Art is mandated in U.S. federal public buildings as well as many state and local facilities. Yes, you read that right. Not only is art mandated to be present in every new federal building, but most states and localities set aside funds to provide art in their public buildings too. There are, of course, definitions of what constitutes art and regulations for installation, but the point is that there is an opportunity for integrators to merge current skills with the ability to offer content that would include “art.” This would provide a more holistic solution for government customers by offering something they are required to have.

It isn’t a great leap to think that we have the capability to increase our services to include content. We already have the real estate in the building that provides digital communication. The shells are there. Imagine video walls, LED displays, digital signage, conferencing solutions, lobby displays and big outdoor signage and projection, all being funded by the government. Some integrators already provide content as a service, but that content is usually boilerplate and informational, not creative content or art. It stands to reason that if integrators are solving two problems for their customers instead of one, it would increase both their chances of getting the contract and the value of our brand.

On the National Level

Support for the arts in federal buildings goes back to 1963 when GSA (the U.S. Government Services Administration) started the “Art-in-Architecture” program. It was officially picked up in 1965 when the government agency, the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, was created. Through the years, the agency has supported myriad projects, and in 2005, the Art-in-Architecture program was written into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), stipulating that money be budgeted to include art in any public federal building. 

On the State Level

Percent-for-art programs are active in at least 28 states and territories. These programs provide a certain percentage of the budget devoted to art in public spaces. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) provides a wealth of information, including research, reports and contact information by state. It has an interactive map of budget allocations as well. Integrators can easily contact someone in their region to find out what services to offer so they can determine if a value-added service in this area would fit their business model. 

On the Local Level

There are art stipulations within local governments too. Here’s an example from Golden, Colorado’s municipal code, which states, “A proposal for public art may be made to the public art commission by any organization, club or business, any city official or employee, or any individual member of the public, by filing an application with the city manager to be forwarded to the public art commission for review.”

These are just some examples of the opportunities integrators have to increase their value to these sectors. As an industry, we have the power of digital communications at our fingertips — it’s just a matter of finding a way to capitalize on what we already know to enhance our offerings. 

Integrators have an opportunity to provide value-add service to their customers for something that is, in this case, a requirement. Being perfectly positioned to offer this, it seems like a win-win for everyone involved. The good news is that digital art is already an accepted medium in government. 

Here’s an excerpt from GSA’s website that details the Art-in-Architecture program:

Jim Campbell explores a similar theme in a very different way. For his Broken Wall (2006), Campbell converted video images of local pedestrians into a light-emitting diode (LED) and glass-block screen set into a former doorway of the Byron G. Rogers U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in Denver, Colorado. Broken down into glowing pixels, the video images form a constantly moving tableau of silhouetted figures that serve as reminders of the human dramas played out within the building. Inside the building’s lobby, three smaller LED screens convey similarly low-resolution images of white-water rapids from the nearby Colorado River, linking the building and its operations to the wider natural environment. (p. 7).

This description of an installation is proof positive that digital art is already an accepted medium for the Art-in-Architecture program. Let’s help each other find a way to capitalize on this opportunity.

SYNNEX VISUALSolv is dedicated to supporting our valued partners in expanding their opportunities in digital signage. Reach out to us here for more information on how to leverage government funding for creative content and maximize your value to your customers.

It’s still education-buying season for professional AV integrators and resellers. What have you learned about education-buying season so far this year? Have you stocked up on all the products you need?

Tip #1: Assess Classroom Needs

Classroom technology is complex and diverse, even though the naked eye doesn’t physically see the half of it. The top client needs in this year’s education-buying season have included, so far, hybrid learning hardware and software, cameras and mic arrays for streaming lectures, and network-security equipment.

  • Hybrid Learning: Recently, AV/IT admins have transitioned to hybrid and remote learning due to today’s climate. Thankfully, hybrid collaboration in K-12 and higher education isn’t so different from collaboration in the enterprise. Particularly in higher-ed, learning and instructing can now take place both remotely and in-person, with professors lecturing over the same video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and more. And, thanks to 4K and laser display technologies, in-person students can engage with content at safe distances. Action item for AV/IT: Check with your education customer to see their level of happiness with 1) their current unified communications & collaboration (UCC) platforms and 2) AV hardware, like video-wall displays, in-room speakers and future-proof display technologies. 
  • Collaboration cameras, speakers and whiteboards: Various classroom-collaboration hardware could include 360-degree cameras (e.g., Jabra PanaCast), in-ceiling document cameras (e.g., Vaddio DocCAM), PTZ cameras for lecture capture (e.g., Vaddio RoboSHOT), and all-in-one audio systems (e.g., Nureva HDL300) that can pick up the sound in the entire room, no matter where students are sitting. Bring the familiar whiteboard (e.g., Logitech Scribe) into video classrooms, empowering remote students to actively engage in learning with teachers and peers. Action item for AV/IT: Ask yourself, “Are remote students getting the same collaboration experience as in-classroom students?”
  • Security: In today’s digital classrooms, the number of connected devices is increasing. The network is the backbone of the K-12 and higher-ed spaces. How do we ensure it’s secure? Action item for AV/IT: A deep mid-semester or mid-year security checkup — even if the client hasn’t asked for one — is never a bad idea.

Tip #2: Attend Industry Events

To stay on top of the must-knows in the education vertical and gain valuable product training, check out these upcoming industry events:

  • SYNNEX VISUALSolv Virtual Roadshow (August 25; virtual) With businesses starting to open back up, ProAV professionals have had to think of new and creative ways to re-engage with customers and innovation may just be the key to recovery. Join us on August 25 to hear from our best-in-class vendor partners on dvLED, enhanced projection, IoT in AV, and new technologies that will be driving the next wave of proAV and digital signage solutions!
  • CEDIA Expo 2021 (Sept. 1-3; Indianapolis, IN; in person + virtual): A residential AV and smart-home-focused show hosted by trade organization CEDIA. One of the first opportunities in more than a year to reunite with 15,000+ connected technology pros to share valuable insights and seek solutions in person.
  • NSCA P2P – Pivot to Profit (Sept. 21-23; Atlanta; in person): In this annual event held by National Systems Contractors Association, you’ll learn how to drive new revenue and discover what’s possible with technology you can access today.
  • Enterprise Connect (Sept. 27-29; Orlando, FL; in person): Enterprise Connect is “the must-attend Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Event,” and “an independent, vendor-neutral place where the industry gathers.”
  • InfoComm 2021 (Oct. 23-29; Orlando, FL; in person + virtual): The premier AV trade show held in the U.S., held in partnership between AVIXA and Integrated Systems Europe.

Keep On Keepin’ On!

With the onset of COVID-19, integrators and technology stakeholders in education markets, in particular, had a tough job on their hands. When virtual learning was normalized, we learned that K-12 and higher-education classrooms could no longer be just remote-friendly but needed to be hybrid-first. Why? Because ensuring that both remote and in-classroom students have an equal opportunity to learn is the key to empowering educators — and inspiring students.

With a value-added partner like SYNNEX VISUALSolv, you won’t just keep doing what you’re doing, but will learn how to do it even better.

 

SYNNEX VISUALSolv unites the industry’s top AV, IT, and CE technologies to build the cross-functional solutions our partners need. We help AV/IT navigate the complex realities of ProAV, digital signage, physical security, collaborative communications, and more. Get in touch with us here.

Today, global chips, or semiconductors, are used for much more than just memory storage. You can find semiconductors in practically every electronic or connected device, whether in computing, auto or power. As you may already know, however, we’ve reached a point where the demand for semiconductors is outpacing the global supply. The number of chips, and related components, being produced isn’t keeping up with the number of chips the world demands.

Why this matters: The effect on supply chains, including for professional and consumer electronics, will soon trickle down to industries like ProAV. Forrester research director Glenn O’Donnell pointed out this “ripple effect” on other markets in ZDNet: “Given the omnipresence of semiconductors, it is effectively the entire economy that is at risk of the secondary effects of chip shortages.”

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In February, SYNNEX VISUALSolv wrote about how to capitalize on video wall opportunities. Whether you lean toward projection, LCD, or LED (though, no doubt, preference should take a back seat to the customer’s scope and needs), we cannot deny that video walls continue to be a powerful tool for visual communications.

“There is a wealth of opportunity in video walls and digital signage,” said Parker Dingler, CTS-D, CTS-I, senior solutions architect for SYNNEX. “Asking the right questions can help … ensure [customers are] provided a complete solution that includes connectivity, installation, service, etc.”

That said, what do you need to build a stunning video wall? A seamless display, a best-in-class processor, and a knowledgeable partner who can tie it all together.

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Everyone had their eye (literally) on digital signage in 2020 during worldwide lockdowns. Now, the technology has been cast as a leading role in back-to-work and back-to-school efforts. Growth is stemming from increased demand for on-premise and out-of-home communications — especially, according to AVIXA, to support new health and security protocols. 

Before understanding how digital signage can help in the “great return,” recognize that the market dynamics of digital signage differ from other AV verticals’. With a boom in digital signage last year came confusion among resellers and AV integrators as to the best go-to-market strategies. Rather than looking at digital signage as another vertical market, think of it as a set of technology tools that address customer communication needs.

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Blog written by Parker Dingler

Gone are the days when video walls were found only in control rooms and corporate lobbies. From small businesses to educational environments and transportation, we now see video walls serving new purposes across a variety of industries. Video walls and digital signage create new experiences for customers, whether for wayfinding or communicating vital information. Advertising is migrating from traditional media to digital media and moving away from static content to becoming multipurpose, multifunctional immersive experiences.

Not only are video walls finding their way into new environments, but the technology is evolving and growing in exciting ways. Direct view LED (dvLED) video walls deliver seamless images that can be scaled to any shape or size.  Video wall software offers transparent temperature monitoring for businesses.

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