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Guest Commentary: Finding Gems in a Down Economy (1/12/2008)
By Kevin Reinis, NetStreams
I'm now going on my third year here at NetStreams, and while the market still has lessons for me to learn, the challenges facing us in the current economic downturn are not unfamiliar to me, having been through the 'Tech Crash' of 2001. NetStreams, as many may know, is the leader in IP-Based A/V distribution systems. The company pioneered the technology to deliver audio and video synchronously, and uncompressed over a scalable IP network. We are sold in over 40 countries, with a great record in both commercial and residential applications. Like many of you, we're looking at the current market conditions to understand how we can continue to thrive in this climate.
The first thing to realise is that even through market downturns, including severe ones, there are opportunities to thrive. Neither business nor consumer spending will stop completely. So the trick becomes understanding where to find the gems, and where you (and we) can add value to the end customer.
In late 2006, NetStreams made a decision to enter the commercial market more formally. We knew that we already had successes in commercial installations through the hard work of our distribution partners and integrators, but we had done little to support this segment. This year, we shipped an entirely new line of commercial audio and video products, and began to accelerate our movement in the commercial space as a company. But why am I talking about commercial you might wonder? Remember those gems I was talking about?
When times are tough everyone wants to do more with less, and businesses are no different. When we pioneered A/V distribution over IP networks one of our goals was to leverage the billions of dollars that had already been spent on network infrastructure by just about every company. Don't pull lots of new wires, just run audio and video as a service on the network. Crazy? A quick look back in history and you'll remember that it wasn't all that long ago that every business had an analogue phone switch or PBX. Today you almost have to go to a museum to find one. How long before end customers demand the same of audio and video distribution?
The question is, will you wait for the customer to ask why you never told them about IP-Based A/V distribution that could have saved them time and money, or will you be proactive to capture the opportunity to do more with less and add value to your customer? To be specific, that's more sources - as many as you want. More displays - want hundreds, no problem. More control - every encoder and decoder is a control processor, too. More flexibility - you can have 2 sources to 200 displays or 50 sources to 10 displays. Finally, you can have mobility back! IP-Based sources and displays can be plugged into any network jack in a building that is appropriately routed on the network. This means you don't have to put a source or display in every zone, just have the resources mobile and plug them into the network when you need them. This is my definition of doing more with less and delivering unprecedented value.
So, in a down market we know that there are gems out there, and we're arming our integrators with the tools to do more with less and deliver value beyond customer expectations. If you're ready to be part of that movement, come and join us.
Kevin Reinis is the CEO and President of NetStreams, the global leader in networked audio/video distribution, based on Internet Protocol (IP) standards.
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