The changing nature of the pro AV sector – and digital signage in particular – was discussed in a ‘Fireplace Chat’ during the ISE 2020 Digital Signage Summit (DSS). Jon Sidwick, Senior Vice President of Maverick AV Solutions, chatted with Conference Chair Florian Rotberg about 23 years with his company, which is now part of the TechData Group, and the possible way ahead for the displays market.

With Maverick’s long background and experience in AV presentation and smart meetings, Sidwick says he and his colleagues saw the trends in digital signage and added that area to its core business. “We’ve always been a distributor and being bought by TechData enabled us to scale,” he commented. “The industry is changing but there will always be a role for distributors. IT vendors rely on the distribution chain so there is the opportunity for us to add value.”

Sidwick observed that at a time when markets were moving towards a more globalised way of working, adding value to the supply chain made sense. “We are looking for new areas and investing in those,” he said. “There has had to be a change in attitude and focus because this business is no longer just about projection or displays any more. It’s about the platform that all the technology runs on, which is all driven by a process.”

He added that a lot had been learned from how the presentation and meetings sector has evolved in recent years through operating platforms such as Google, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Logitech, HP Slice and Lenovo. “These are now critical to our solutions,” Sidwick said. “Five years ago, every vendor was in a silo but now we have to work together. It’s a symbiotic relationship across different disciplines.”

Sidwick observes that multiple technology platforms are now being used together as a complete eco-system. All this is then driven by another key element in IT environments: “Data has become the new opportunity as well as the currency of our business. Technology used to dictate what went into installations but now it is the other way round. A successful business will look at work processes and if you want to remain niche there is so much more that can be added. There are still a lot of opportunities to be had.”

Digital Signage Summit ISE took place on 12 February 2020 at the Hotel Okura Amsterdam. Please find the image gallery here. See you next year at Integrated Systems Europe 2021!