Getty Images/iStockphoto

Pandemic hangover continuing to impact AV world

Substantial number of customers looking to rip and replace the kit that was on the walls and desks when Covid hit

The audio visual (AV) market was one of the most impacted by the pandemic, as public spaces closed and the screens across venues and offices were switched off for the bulk of 2020.

Once lockdowns and restrictions were lifted, the market did start to recover, and many of those operating in that market, including the likes of Midwich, expected the fortunes of AV to revive.

However, four years on from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, research from Kinly has revealed there are still issues hanging over from that period the industry needs to address.

The headline finding from the firm’s Trusted connections 2024 research was the revelation that 41% of respondents felt they needed to completely replace the tech that had been installed during lockdown.

A significant number of AV professionals were also helping customers replace ageing AV infrastructure that predated the pandemic.

The challenge for the AV channel is having to compete for spending when customers are putting funds into network infrastructure projects, remote support and unified comms.

Kinly found that half of those users it’s quizzed (49%) have seen their AV budgets reduced this year, although for many, the pressure to innovate remains stronger than ever.

Learning lessons

One positive that has emerged from the experience of the past four years is the determination by many customers to learn lessons and avoid being lumbered with legacy kit.

Kinly found that two-thirds of customer AV teams now had a plan in place for any future pandemics, and three-quarters revealed they were working to a defined workplace communications strategy for this year.

Tom Martin, Kinly’s CEO, said there were signs that despite the challenges, customers wanted to upgrade their AV infrastructure.

“Our Trusted connections 2024 report highlights not just the lingering challenges from the pandemic, but also the resilience and adaptability of the AV industry,” he said. “The need to overhaul and update the technology infrastructure installed during the pandemic – even in the face of budget constraints – reflects enterprises’ determination to prioritise modernisation, and demonstrates a deep commitment to future-proofing our workplaces.

“The hard-reset approach to AV technology highlights that ultimately, we can’t move forward unless the issues of the past are resolved. The lessons learned during Covid-19 have underscored the importance of flexibility and the need for robust, scalable AV solutions that can adapt to any challenge.”

Given the prospect of replacing significant amounts of AV hardware, Martin said the industry also had a responsibility to help introduce changes in a sustainable way.

“There is a balance to be struck,” he said. “When talking about future-proofing and embracing new innovations, we have to address the elephant in the room: sustainability. That’s why it’s essential that we integrate principles of the circular economy when disposing of old technology, ensuring our advancements contribute not just to technological progress, but to environmental stewardship. This holistic approach facilitates us to foster the robust, scalable and adaptable technology we need without sacrificing the planet.”

Read more on Audio Visual (AV) Solutions