Been to an InfoComm show lately? If you have, something you may notice is that the average age at the show is, well, let’s be PC and say not young.
For many that have been around the business for some time, they may not have noticed the age creep taking place, but for many who come year after year and see the same faces you may have seen a wrinkle or two that wasn’t there before.
Nevertheless, the industry is aging a bit and now is the time for owners and leaders to start thinking: how can we bring some youth back? How can we inject a little technology enthusiasm and get those darn kids to take their knowledge of computers, tablets and social media and turn it into something good for our business?
Begging the question, is it time to start looking for tech savvy millennials to come into our businesses and help us evolve?
Sure, the reputation of the younger generation isn’t great. I think most would agree that with each new generation that comes there is one that came before that is touting why the next generation will fail. Perhaps it is generation-centrism or maybe just a lack of understanding of what is next, but it is true. Right boomers? You guys had little confidence in Gen X.
So let’s get past the stereotypes that have millennials being basement living, entitlement crazy, grammar lacking hethens and let’s look at why millennials may solve more problems for most integrators than they create.
It Starts With The Tech Revolution
By in large the biggest problem that the integration industry has right now is that it is suffering with its identity. Are we A/V or are we IT? Does A/V as we know it really exist and if so how much longer will it be around?
We all know that mobile, social and cloud are going to be the determinants of what is next for tech, so how many more electronic whiteboards and projectors can we really sell? And while claiming the death of certain technology is certainly premature, the fact is anyone who can spell their name right (on a mobile device) knows that the way tech is being used is changing.
However, for many integrators, those making the technology decisions are less than comfortable with the changes. Few, if any, regularly do video on their mobile device and most haven’t seen just how good, free and very inexpensive collaboration services work.
But guess who does use these things every day? Guess who knows the upside and the downside of these applications? And furthermore who has a keen awareness of the privacy and security issues that most of these emerging free(ish) services offer?
That is right, millennials!
By instilling a little bit of youth into your organization, you are opening the door to adding team members who may not remember the old days when projectors drove 40 points of margin, but they will know all about emerging tech and why people want it. Frankly speaking, that is what most integrators need.
The story about why we as AV integrators are needed is changing somewhat. The ability to present, communicate and collaborate hasn’t changed but the ways and means are changing at breakneck speed that the industry is struggling to keep up with.
Mobilizing youth and infusing it into your organization isn’t only important, but may be the key difference between the companies that make the needed leap to what’s next and those that get left in the dust.
So where are your millennials? Is it time to start thinking young?
Daniel L. Newman currently serves as CEO of EOS, a new company focused on offering cloud-based management solutions for IT and A/V integrators. He has spent his entire career in various integration industry roles. Most recently, Newman was CEO of United Visual where he led all day to day operations for the 60-plus-year-old integrator.
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