The Innovation Intermission: Why Hitting “Pause” May be Best for the AV Industry

Here’s a thought that might surprise you: true innovation in the Pro AV industry appears to be slowing down. Now, I know how that sounds – especially when we’re in an era where technological breakthroughs are happening left, right, and center. But hear me out. What was the last true “game-changing” technology in AV? When was the last time you were actually “wowed” by a new product? If you think about it, maybe I’m not crazy.

But this stalling could very well be the best thing to happen to our industry.

First off, it’s worth noting that our industry has been on an express train of growth and innovation for quite some time. We’ve seen remarkable advancements in everything from digital signage and AV-over-IP to video conferencing and live event technologies. Recently though, it feels like we’ve hit something of a plateau, and honestly, I think that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay – it’s a golden opportunity.

When the frenzied pace of change eases up, we get the chance to fully appreciate and harness the technologies we already have. It’s like finally having the time to explore the features of your latest smartphone that you’ve always been curious about but never got around to. This pause gives us a much-needed breather, letting businesses and consumers alike understand and optimize existing solutions. What’s more, a slower pace of innovation gives us a chance to perfect what we’ve got. We can tweak, refine, and enhance our current tech, boosting reliability and efficiency while delivering an even better user experience.

But here’s where it gets really interesting. This lull in the rush towards the “next big thing” is a rare opportunity for industry-wide standardization. When we’re all racing ahead, we often end up with similar but incompatible technologies. A pause in the fast track gives us the chance to create universal standards [insert applause from the IT community], enhancing compatibility across platforms and devices. And this isn’t just a win for us in the industry; it benefits our users too, with smoother, more reliable tech experiences.

This “slowdown” in Pro AV innovation also provides a chance to spread our wings and reach out to new communities. With the rush of constant innovation on hold, we have time to pay attention to those who might have been left on the periphery – to elevate new voices, embrace diverse perspectives, and truly enrich our industry. It’s a pause that allows inclusivity to take center stage.

And let’s not forget sustainability. When we’re not consumed by the need to innovate at breakneck speed, we have the space to consider the environmental impact of our work. We can design with a long-term vision, focusing on energy efficiency, product life cycles, recyclability, and waste reduction, which contributes to a healthier planet.

So yes, innovation in the Pro AV sector might be stalling, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s an invitation to consolidate, to optimize, and to perfect. It’s a chance to reach out, to include, and to sustain. And most importantly, it’s an opportunity to ensure that as we grow, we do so thoughtfully, responsibly, and inclusively.

For more thoughts from experts in AV, be sure to check out my show Pro AV Today.

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