Our Game Is Changing

Five Market Challenges That Can’t Be Ignored By Your Company It’s important to face our game-changing businesss challenges head on.
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Five Market Challenges That Can’t Be Ignored By Your Company

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It’s important to face our game-changing businesss challenges head on.

As we enter a new decade of development in our industry, establishing and implementing standardized operations within your company could be the key to your survival.

Our industry has grown quickly and has experienced constant change for the last 20 years. These changes, however, have been mostly internal and the result of natural and expected “chaos” inherent in the birth of any new industry. It is likely that the most recent challenges of the last few years will remain with us for some time, including the increasing commoditization of once high-margin products, the increasing market share of big-box retailers, over-exposed distribution channels for once customonly products, and so on. However, today there are new, less obvious challenges evolving that will impact our industry in ways that we will now be forced to understand and cope with.

1. TECHNOLOGY IS MOVING TOWARD A MORE STANDARDIZED, “PLUG-ANDPLAY” MODEL
More and more devices are being designed to be easier to set up and use without specialized knowledge or training. Be aware that there will come a day for many products when they will be “configured” instead of “installed.”

2. THE MOVE TO WIRELESS TRANSMISSION OF CONTENT IS ADVANCING RAPIDLY
More and more devices and services are becoming available that do not require traditional “custom installation” services or in some cases even wires. The newest flat-panel displays from Sony and others feature “wireless HDMI” transmission with the only required connection to the display being power.

3. MANY DEVICES THAT WE SELL ARE QUICKLY MOVING TOWARD AN “IP-CENTRIC” MODEL
These products will require a deeper understanding of IT networks (wired and wireless) as well as the skills to deploy and manage them. Is your firm ready to support these kinds of IT-intensive projects?

4. THE DELIVERY MECHANISMS FOR MEDIA OF ALL TYPES ARE CHANGING RAPIDLY
Traditional broadcasters or “one-to-many” networks such as ABC, NBC, and CBS, are giving way to a wide variety of internet-based delivery models for the TV, movies, and music that our clients want. When our clients’ kids can provide an internet connection directly to the TV to deliver streaming HD content on a single remote, how will your company remain relevant?

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Richard Millson (richard. millson@millson.net) is president of Vancouver-based Millson Multimedia.

5. THE LARGEST PLAYERS HAVE THEIR SIGHTS SET ON OUR LIVING ROOMS
Giants like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and even Cisco are all actively developing strategies for gaining market share with end users by making it easier to access, purchase, and store content anytime, anywhere they want. The role of the ESC in all of this is unknown at best, and in the worst case scenario, unneeded at all.

My intention in raising these issues is not to play “Chicken Little;” I don’t believe the sky is falling. What I do know is that the game is changing and quickly. The last thing we, as an industry, want to do is hide our collective heads in the sand and pretend that we can simply continue on with business as usual. To compete at the highest level, we will need to turn our businesses into highly structured “powerhouses” of efficiency. I believe the bottom line is this:

To become a true “powerhouse,” you must be a model of efficiency
Efficiency is created by implementing repeatable processes
Those processes are only attainable through standardization

So my best advice is to face these and any other challenges head on. Strategize with your team on how you will provide the highest value possible for clients who may no longer be interested in the services that you used to provide. Focus on what new skills you will need to acquire to deliver and support the products and services that the new “Version 2.0” ESC will be expected to offer.

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