AV and IT channel convergence is about to take hold. Get ready.

The AV and IT ecosystem is at an interesting crossroads as two traditionally distinct and siloed channels converge.

Deidre Deacon, General Manager and Channel Chief for ViewSonic Canada

With cloud-enabled enterprises, digital transformation complete, and the shift to work-from-anywhere environments, AV and IT integration is now permanently entrenched in organizations across Canada and around the world. It was only a matter of time before this same trend made its way to AV and IT resellers, dealers and distributors. 

Now, these traditionally siloed distribution channels are catching up to where their customers are. While the impact of this convergence is significant for the channel, for organizations the priority is to deliver a complete and effective solution to their workforces that is focused on optimized experiences. In today’s hybrid world, that means businesses need to be able to connect people wherever they are and enable them to create and collaborate over cloud-based applications in a natural and seamless way. Just as there is no longer a separation between AV and IT within their own organizations, businesses expect the same from their suppliers. With visual solutions so fundamental to this new ecosystem, vendors and distributors that can deliver an end to end offering of integrated IT and AV solutions – including best-in-class software, service and support – are positioned to lead the way as this new converged channel takes shape.

For example, today, optimal functionality requires vendors that appreciate the importance end users have placed on cohesive, seamless and connected experiences and are delivering on that expectation. ViewSonic’s proven expertise and leading visual solutions, from interactive flat panels, to commercial displays and DV LEDs, are at the forefront of innovation when it comes to enabling content creation, sharing and collaboration. 

Integration is one of the biggest trends taking hold in the channel and it’s one that is placing AV and IT      at an inflection point as they decide how to work together and move forward in a way that best meets customers’ needs. 

“I’m having these conversations with dealers from both sides,” says Lisa Kislich-Lemyre, CEO, DataVisual Marketing, Canada’s leading value-added distributor of Audio Visual and Technology solutions. “As a distributor, we are also in the same boat. We have an AV channel lead and an IT channel lead within our sales team. We are looking at how best to bring them together as the lines between the two continue to blur. Systems design integrators is the new role we’re working towards.”

Kislich-Lemyre likens the new combined role to that of a project manager on a construction site, bringing together all the trades to put everything together. Without that same type of convergence of AV and IT channels, the risk is that the customer experience will suffer either via failed implementations or by settling for solutions that may get the job done but do not maximize performance and productivity. 

“Customers want AV and IT expertise on the same team,” says Kislich-Lemyre. For AV and IT channels, this requires either developing partnerships to tap into subject matter expertise or building that knowledge base inhouse. Gone are the days when data and security alone were the purview of IT, and audio and visual were singularly the domain of AV.  

They have to work towards becoming an interconnected ecosystem that delivers:

  • Cross-disciplinary collaboration and holistic design between AV and IT teams.
  • Product-agnostic approach for maximum flexibility and future proofing.
  • Continuous training and education on user needs, as well as technology options.

It’s the only way forward in today’s digitally, interconnected world, where people connect over multiple devices, screens, and sensors over cloud-based networks. In current work environments, AV can only exist on a foundation of IT.  The result is a mandate for integration and teamwork between these two groups who hold the keys to successful project implementations. This requires each group to develop a proactive approach to understand the needs and pain points of the other. 

The need for seamless integration is most obvious in the conference room, which has morphed into a digitally driven collaboration hub. It is outfitted with video communications, pan/tilt/zoom cameras, room booking systems, wireless presentation solutions, laptops and content/asset management systems. Pulling everything together are advanced interactive, touchscreen, flat-panel displays that allow for organic collaboration. In addition to delivering high levels of functionality, these systems must be intuitive and easy to use for anyone in the organization as well as platform agnostic in terms of integration with a wide range of third-party platforms and applications.

Key considerations for customers seeking collaboration solutions today:

  • Digital whiteboarding and annotation solutions on which users can write, draw, mark up, control the screen and save content using fingers, styluses and pens.
  • Multicasting for wireless screen sharing from any device anywhere along with a built-in screen camera to record, save and play back presentations.
  • Cloud-based content portability to easily store and share documents, images and other information on demand.
  • Integration with Microsoft, Apply and Google operating systems plus access to applications such as Google search, YouTube, Zoom and many others to maximize productivity.
  • Enterprise-level security to reliably protect sensitive and proprietary data in an age of open systems and multiple platforms all needing to work together.

The ability to turn to one vendor, such as ViewSonic, which offers end-to-end solutions that are already integrated for AV and IT, is both a value-add for the customer and competitive advantage for partners as convergence takes hold in the channel. 

“Being able to sell a complete solution from one vendor, especially from an organization such as ViewSonic, which offers state-of-the-art solutions as well as a comprehensive training and service program, is an important go-to-market value proposition for us,” says Kislich-Lemyre.

The bottom line: the future is bright for the channel as AV integrators and IT resellers begin to think bigger and more holistically to serve today’s customers. They have to seek out and partner with vendors who can provide the breadth of integrated solutions that customers want and need – not just standalone products. At ViewSonic, we couldn’t be more excited than to be on the frontlines as this convergence moves forward.       

ViewSonic is a leading provider of interactive and collaborative visual engagement solutions for enterprise, education, consumer and commercial markets. For more information, visit www.viewsonic.com. To learn about ViewSonic’s partner benefits and sign up for the ViewSonic Partner Program, visit https://partner.viewsonic.com.