CEDIA, a major home audio-visual conference, was held here in Denver last week. It was great to have it in Mersive‘s hometown because colleagues, friends, resellers and design consultants came by our offices all day to take a look at demos of our products, chat about the latest in the visual computing space, and (in some cases) just go out for drinks and fun.
Outside of some of the hotels, immersive restaurant displays, and a few high-end theaters, Mersive’s primary focus is the enterprise space. Despite that, I spend a lot of time trying to understand the trends that are driving the home and consumer visual computing markets. Why?
The enterprise AV space is inevitably linked to the consumer market in a number of ways:
- Consumer demand for pixels in the home creates new products that find their way into the enterprise. Even though many new technologies are incubated in the high-end of the enterprise (such as Barco 4k flat panels in the Oil & Gas market), it takes the pressures of volume and price in the home market before those technologies have true impact across the board.
- Expectation setting in the home market can change behaviors in the commercial space. I see this happen all the time. In the mid-2000s there was a significant inversion going on where the home theaters in many homes were dramatically better than the lonely projector in the corporate conference room. Once these expectations were set, many businesses began transforming their conference rooms with dual 60+ inch flat panels, HD video conferencing, and some level of video source switching.
- Technologies borrowed from the home theater that make their way into the enterprise are good predictors of unmet needs. A great example of this is the large number of Apple TV units that ended up in the enterprise. Clearly Apple did not intend to develop a product that would be used to stream content in business meetings – but an unmet demand encouraged commercial customers to borrow the Apple TV and implement it into dozens of conference rooms (usually to the disappointment of the customer). The unmet demand in this case: wireless collaboration technology in the corporate conference room.
The tendrils of connection between the two disparate markets are important to understand. If you are a commercial AV integrator, or support the home through new digital media technologies, then you should ask yourself, what have I seen in the “sister” market that will have impact on my business? If you can see these connections early and be ready for the next big thing, your customers will thank you for it.