Fira de Barcelona Gran Via
1-4 June 2021

Education spend wobbles, but prospects remain brightRISE Spotlight: AVIXA Insights

Sean Wargo

Education has, of course, been massively disrupted by the pandemic; however in contrast to many other sectors, institutions had to spend quickly on AV in order to be able to keep teaching. So said Sean Wargo, Senior Director of Market Intelligence at AVIXA, during the RISE Spotlight event on digital learning. In the AVIXA Insights session he shared the latest picture of the impact of Covid-19 on the education sector and highlighted the opportunities for pro AV in this space; and went on a deeper data dive in a Watercooler Virtual meet later on.

This led to a high level of spend on the back-end technology that enables remote teaching and learning. Streaming media, storage and distribution now represents the second-largest segment of global pro-AV spend, accounting for $4.2bn in 2020. Only video projection was ahead at $5.3bn.

Watch the full AVIXA Insights session here

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Regionally, APAC was impacted least throughout 2020; in fact, growth of 8.2% in spending on pro-AV is forecast in 2021. The Americas also fared reasonably well with a decline of 2.7% in pro-AV revenue spent recorded between 2019 and 2020. However, growth of 4% is expected this year. EMEA saw the biggest slump – a 4.3% decline from 2019 to 2020 – and is expected to take longer to recover, with growth of just 1.4% in spending forecast for 2021.

On the whole, however, the future looks positive for pro AV in education. While the focus in 2020 was simply on enabling some form of teaching, in 2021 and beyond there is the chance for reinvestment as institutions look to improve the solutions in use. Indeed, although revenue growth was forecast to be 4-5% per annum up to 2025 when the research was conducted in June 2020, education is now seen as a market that could actually exceed expectations for pro AV.

Later on, during one of the Watercooler Virtual Meets, Wargo elaborated on AVIXA’s research into the education market. One key trend he identified was the increased investment in software that allows classrooms to engage remotely, which wouldn’t necessarily have been captured as part of pro-AV in the past.

“So, did education decline in terms of net spending?” asked Wargo.  “That’ll depend on what you include in that mix.”

Watch the full AVIXA Watercooler Virtual meet here

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However you measure it, the belief is that this change will be positive for AV integrators.

“We think there is an opportunity for the traditional AV integrator in this more software- and service-focused space,” he said. “As systems need to be improved, whether that’s microphones, displays, capture and production to reach learners that are not on site, we believe there’s some opportunity there. It’s something to watch as we adjust to new definitions for what constitutes AV systems and how much they are hybrid in nature.”

A shift to hybrid in the longer term is expected to some extent, and again this creates an opportunity for AV. Higher education providers in particular are expected to look to improve on the learning experience with platforms that enable educators to call on people, invite them to present or form breakout sessions. “We’re seeing the fringes of learning platforms taken to the next level,” added Wargo.