According to a study by CEDIA over 25% of business revenue consisted of commercial (personally, I think it may even be larger). When looking at your overall business, this is a big number. Most of us have done a conference room TV hang, and maybe even a control system in a training room. Have you installed an AV system in a sports bar or restaurant? We may think that the only place to find new commercial products are at shows like InfoComm, but I’m here to tell you there are many on the show floor offering a slew of great new light commercial products.
In’s and Outs: Over the years, Atlona has released numerous products that are used in both residential and commercial applications; including robust matrix switchers and HDMI extenders (with HDbaset technology!). This year they have added a new 6×1 switcher/scaler that will allow multiple format inputs and dual mirrored outputs; an excellent solution for classrooms and small offices. Equipped with not only HDMI, but VGA, this is the answer as analog continues to change over to digital.
Speakers: JBL, certainly not new to the commercial world, is showing off an entire commercial display at the show complete with array speakers and multiple options for 70-volt systems. Beale Street audio, a new kid on the block, has promised their new 70-volt line, complete with their Sonic Vortex technology, available in only 60 days, said Thu Le the director of product development.
Control: Check out the back of URC’s booth, and you’ll find options for their Total Control system to be acclimated in a sports bar porting sixteen satellite receiver to sixteen televisions. You’ll also hear about new two-way modules for companies like DBX (but you’ll have to ask for that, as you won’t see it on the floor).
Of course, Crestron dominates the world of large commercial applications and via their 4K distribution systems, speakers, and control systems, they are an easy option when quoting a commercial system of any size. With their true blue support, they’ll even help you design it.
Education: Even I was surprised to see companies touting interactive boards here at the CEDIA EXPO. So far I have seen LG show off their 84” touch as a white board as well as Epson’s Brightlink Pro. These units both bring new options to the boardroom and training room and can be purchased by manufacturers that you are already doing business with!
Mount it up: Checkout any of your friendly mounting companies to see more mounting options than ever before. Crimson is taking the work out of the project by providing kits to their dealers. Looking for a back-to-back mount to hang off the ceiling, and you’re not sure of the drop down size? They have an answer for that with drops from three feet to five feet and beyond. They sell the system with not only the pole and parts, but also with the mounts themselves.
Putting it all together: D-Tools is a company that has been around for years, and they’re not just for the residential market. As systems get bigger and larger, they become more complex. For you to be seen as professional, and to turn systems around faster, you need software capable of handling it. D-Tools allows you to take a the data driven process to create proposals, work orders, and project flow. They allow you to meet requirements of drawings and diagrams and this year they have introduced mobile features, just make your life easier.
Light commercial is an avenue you should be looking at if you have not already as it provides you a diverse portfolio and additional income for success. If you’re at the show, be sure to ask questions to arm yourself with the information you will be surely need. If you’re not at the show, be on the lookout for these great new products with exciting new features.
You can thank me later.
Heather L. Sidorowicz is the president of Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.