1- Where is the A/V â€œmountâ€ accessories market headed in 2011, and where do the product innovations lie?
Well, since the economy as a whole is seemingly getting better, hopefully in all categories, the A/V â€œmountâ€ accessories market is most definitely headed up for 2011. In general, A/V mounts and A/V furniture are seen as a necessity for both commercial and residential applications. TVs have become a part of everyday dÃ©cor, and mounts are how they are showcased. They are also more important in regards to viewing. As 3D becomes more prevalent, the viewing angle of the panel becomes extremely important. The correct mount is integral to the implementation of this new technology. Digital Signage is another area where the mount market is growing. Product innovations lie in how flexible the mounts have become. Installers want a mount that is easy, strong, and flexible enough to handle the changes that come from their customers, no matter the application.
2- Is digital signage a growing market for you? What makes digital signage mounts different from standard AV Mounts?
Yes, it is a growing market. Not just for us, but for the A/V industry as a whole. What we are consistently seeing is that installers need to realize that digital signage is not totally different from what they do nowâ€¦it’s the content that is different (i.e. ads running on a digital loop versus TV shows and movies). The main differences between the â€œgenericâ€ residential mount and the commercial digital signage mount are sometimes slight, but sometimes a little more drastic. For instance, for many digital signage applications, mounts have been designed with a control-lockable tilt to create an angle-specific flat panel wall. Other designs include the ability to mount flat screens in a landscape or portrait configurations, the ability to connect multiple flat panels, the ability to connect the digital signage computer via a specific â€œelectronics holderâ€ designed specifically for this application, and added tamper resistance tools.
3- What type of flat panel mount is your most popular and why?
The most popular style is the static flush mount. The open architecture allows for multiple connections and styles of cables, power, etc. Most consumers like their TV to be as close as possible to the wall. And with the new LED and OLED TV’s (some which are paper thin), this plays nicely into the home or office aesthetics.
4- Are equipment racks in demand or do you find that today’s consumer has cut back on dedicated equipment rooms in favor of in-room solutions?
Equipment racks are still in demand, and we expect them to continue to be popular. In the past, equipment racks used to be thought of in terms of being used solely in server rooms or within hotel and restaurant equipment rooms. Nowadays, residential customers use them to protect and hide their home theater equipment. While in-room solutions are still the norm, as electronics get less expensive, many now have ability to â€œclean upâ€ the install with a rack.
5- In today’s economy, do you try and move into new markets, or stick with current markets where you are comfortable?
In order to survive, one must do both. But, movement into new markets has to be calculated. A company needs to know what they do best as you can’t be all things to all people. Obviously the current markets are important because that is where your business is now, but you can’t ignore these new markets or you get left behind. However, new markets should still be complementary to what you do know in order to better achieve success.
6- How do you converge into these growth markets and how do you turn “flat” into “growth”?
The movement has to be an extension of what your core business already is. For instance, if you are a mount company but a particular piece of electronics is in a growth mode (such as a DVR), that doesn’t mean you should jump into the electronics business. Instead, realize that this is a growth segment and manufacturer DVR accessories and/or mounts depending on your specialty. Digital Signage is a great growth market to tap into. From a mount standpoint, many of the existing mounts can work in this whole new growth category…some as is, and some with minor modifications (such as security features). The fundamental business did not have to change to be a part of this growing segment.
7- Is partnering with a company that designs, markets, and sells its own name brand products still important?
Yes, it is more than ever. In this market (and I believe from now on), quality and trust are equally important. In many cases, customers will buy mounts based solely on price because, to many people, an accessory’s quality is the same no matter the brand. What they don’t understand, but unfortunately find out later on, is that a poorly designed or built accessory can cause huge system ramifications if the quality is not there. No one wants their entire A/V system to be compromised because the cable didn’t work or the mount won’t tilt correctly. And if something does go wrong, the customer should feel confident that a real person will be on the other end to help them if the product they installed came from a reputable and respected company.