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.

 

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.

Continue Reading

New video, audio, and staging tools have raised the bar for congregations in recent years. Add in the urgency for new and improved live streaming, and the house of worship market is poised to grow even further.

For many AV integrators, the house of worship market has been a key vertical for decades. With over 350,000 congregations nationwide, there’s no limit to the potential for pro AV system upgrades. This market traditionally has many facets: AV system design and installation, acoustic design and analysis, IT system integration, user training, service and support, equipment rentals, and show and event services. 2020 brought the immediate need for live streaming, something many churches were already doing.

Continue Reading

Finding new markets is important in any economic landscape. That will never change, despite the macro- and micro-economic conditions of the day and the ups and downs of business cycles. But even in less volatile years, finding new market opportunities is never straightforward. It not only requires mining opportunities on new horizons, but also in your current customer base.

So, how do integrators – working with a top distributor like SYNNEX – take advantage of a non-obvious market opportunity? Three things are key: addressing the new markets that have emerged, helping current customers with changing needs in traditional verticals, and offering bundled solutions that help with both goals. Here are a few prominent new market opportunities to be aware of.

Continue Reading

Take advantage of burgeoning demand for solutions in every vertical that address a combination of access, security, health, and safety needs.

Demand for building access solutions had been growing and evolving prior to 2020, but access solutions were typically more siloed than what organizations need now.
Facility access was the realm of more standalone building security technologies, and it didn’t often dovetail with other needs.

For retail spaces, concerns revolved around staff entry and access as well as shoplifting and physical concerns such as fire safety and building capacity. For the enterprise space, initial building entry concerns dominated. And in schools, access control was typically more after-the-fact than entry-focused, with emergency notification often more important that initial entry, usage, or occupancy issues.

Continue Reading

As physical security needs have evolved in every vertical, new-generation video solutions are unlocking new market opportunities.

This year, many business and facility closures combined with new health/safety needs for back to work have fast-tracked many physical security needs. The urgent need for physical security solutions to protect empty or near-empty buildings soon led to retail, corporate, educational, and government customers needing to upgrade all their digital systems.

Key to those upgrades? Video and surveillance tools that raise the bar for organizations, because “good enough” video is no longer acceptable. The new table stakes are more reliable, better resolution and video content that users can more easily archive and analyze. And the keys to market growth going forward are video tools that multi-task to meet multiple security, safety, and other demands.

Continue Reading

The physical security market has been on the rise for over a decade, and early this year, analysts said it would likely increase at a CAGR of 10.5% in the 2020-2025 timeframe. So how will the 2020 market disruptions affect this multi-year growth?

Demand for all security products will increase. In addition, there will be sharply increased demand for new solution categories. Topping that list of new categories? The market where building access meets health and safety as back-to-work pressures create unprecedented demand for new security/health pre-screening products and services. The clear trend overall: more growth opportunity for security solutions.

Continue Reading