Integrated Systems Events Managing Director, Mike Blackman, discusses the role of AV technology in retail.
Technology’s enduring trait is the speed at which it changes. We are living in an era of remarkable technological progression. Sometimes things move so quickly, it feels like we might not keep up. But, of course, we do and with our own technical evolution comes an acceptance. Isn’t it amazing how quickly the human brain moves from surprise to acceptance and then expectation?
The retail landscape is a prime example of where customer surprise has quickly flipped into acceptance and then expectation for new technologies. This is reflected in a 2015 InfoComm AV Vertical Markets report, which predicted that the global retail pro-AV market would grow from $5.6 billion in 2014 to $6.9 billion in 2016. Customers expect technology to be an integral part of the shopping experience and the AV industry is benefitting from that.
We have entered what end users refer to as the “mobile age of retail.” Customers are better informed than ever before and they expect all the information at their fingertips. Consumers are relying on their mobile devices to deliver information and convenience, and their expectations are raising the bar for the retail industry. There is a growing demand, especially with millennials, for anywhere, anyplace, any device connectivity, and this expectation extends to the retail environment.
The levels of interest and investment in AV technology varies widely from retailer to retailer. The decision to invest or not invest in AV has little to do with the nature of the retail business and more to do with the retailers’ beliefs about technology.
As consumers gravitate towards tech-savvy brands, the pro AV opportunities grow. Digital signage, audio and video production technologies are particularly relevant to this. Sophisticated retailers are increasing their use of integrated technology solutions to manage security and store operations. Digital signage allows retailers to engage shoppers in a unique and personalised experience and audio remains a top priority for retailers – end users continue to show interest in upgrading their existing audio systems.
As is often the case, the growth in this area is mainly confined to the high-end retail segment, as the cost-conscious lower end is driven by the trend to lower-cost displays and out of-the-box digital signage offerings.
Retail will continue to be an interesting market vertical, with development across the relevant AV market segments. People, in this case shoppers, are naturally drawn towards engagement and interactivity; instinctual traits that most of us are born with. At ISE 2017, we’ll see the latest innovations and products that can help retailers capitalise and nurture stronger emotional relationships through engagement and interactivity. The future of Retail AV is very interesting indeed.