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The AV Industry: A REAL House of Cards

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It's 6am somewhere and an AV team is just starting work- or depending on the show cycle- they are just ending their shift after a long night of making sure things will be perfect for the next show. Getting a little sleep, maybe eating a little something, and counting down til the time when they are supposed to do it all over again .

You see, this is how I was introduced to the Rental and Staging part Audiovisual Industry about 26 years ago, and the current state of this part our industry today and other parts are slowly being reduced to selling and installing smart pieces of furniture. However most of the people in the other parts of the industry are unaware of how a typical day may play it’s way out.

I was trained for this "show must go on” lifestyle by my background in theater. However, the difference between the theater and the rental/staging part of the AV industry is there is always a different show- daily, sometimes hourly. This creates a mindset that failure isn't an option, which is difficult to maintain and doesn't foster a learning environment. Hence the reason why even though it’s been 26 years since I joined in the industry, this is still the mode of operation.

The Audiovisual industry is an interdependent house of cards. Surviving on the strength of the manufacturers to produce products to integrators to sale and install said product to rental/staging to showcase said product with an association assisting in training and creating standards to hold it all together.

As technology advances, our industry is imploding in on itself and will leave hundreds of thousands of people struggling to rebuild their careers, their confidence and (dare I say) their lives, or the lives they gave up. It seems like there is no point. We are at a crossroads, but the problem is we have been at this crossroads for sometime now. It's up to us (the Audiovisual Professionals) to lead our industry in a sustainable way- not only for our clients, but our people. What would a sustainable look like? I believe something that fits in the “Sharing Economy” that is emerging. Our interdependence is our strength and the more we find innovative ways to capitalize on it the more we can lead the technology conversations.

As we wait, technology is advancing to the degree of automation . As we wait, businesses are failing because of this broken system. As we wait, families are losing years that they will never get back. I'm one voice of many, and I understand there are many amazing people in our industry working hard to make a difference. However, it is hard to see this work and you sure as hell can't feel it. Especially when their are too many leaders that can’t see past their own company or employees are treated like a commodity like our customers treat the equipment .

Let's join our voices and actions and change lives, because this conversation is incomplete with your voice, without your years of dedication. As AV Professionals, we have the mindset of "Whatever it takes for our clients." That;s great, but are we brave enough to use this same mindset for ourselves and the future of our industry? Let’s work together NOW, before it all falls down.

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