Tyler's Trending Tuesday - Week 3

Author: Tyler Cox

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WEEK THREE OF TRENDING TUESDAYS!

Week three is here and I’m continuously shocked by how much change can happen in seven days. Offices have opened back up, live events have turned virtual and companies are realizing that some of these changes we pivoted to, might be here for good. Now, some folks might be happy to get back to the morning commute, (which will hopefully have a little less traffic), while others are content with the adaptation of working from home as a regular thing. Companies understand that their employees will only come back if they feel safe with the environment and are following the right guidelines. This aspect of getting back to whatever our “new normal” will be, is a constant in all aspects of reopening: sports, theater, live events and offices.
 
THIS WEEK’S FINDINGS

Long story short, day-to-day routines, our businesses and the way we interact, whether it be with coworkers, clients or friends/family, is changed forever. While we continue to hear “ the new normal”, David Riberi from LightWerks Communications may be right in changing that saying to “the new abnormal”.

“We are entering a period, a time when we’re all going to have to relearn what our customers want, what our employees need and how the coronavirus pandemic will change our businesses and our world forever.”

This simple statement had a huge affect on me when I tried to figure out what to focus on for this week’s findings. How far will working from home go? We know for some businesses it has already expanded until EOY. And what will it take for those offices to be fully prepared for full-time back to the office work? Our industry has to start thinking from the human perspective more often now to encompass these emotional feelings towards this “new abnormal”.


THINKING HUMAN  

Within our industry we build many relationships to get our customers the type of conferencing equipment or room buildouts that they need. Relationships with manufacturers, installers, distributors, consultants and end customers. We all must find out what our employees are most comfortable with when it comes to reopening. Our job in the AV industry will change from just selling and installing a specific piece of hardware, and that being that. Part of our job will now have to make our customers feel safe and protected with the equipment they are going to be using and the conference spaces they will be using them in. Fear of these things not being up to their safety standards will keep folks away from the office. Especially since most of us can now easily work from home just as efficiently.

With these human emotions now being a factor in our next steps forward we can assume work from home is here to stay for many folks. Google is giving every employee $1000 work allowance to expense anything they need to make their work from home easier and more productive.

“This allowance will most certainly ease the burden on employees as they work from home and have to buy necessary hardware. And it also helps boost morale of employees in these tough times, in the sense that they can be reassured that the company is looking out for them.”

Now I can’t base the future on one companies’ option to help their employees. For others, we are seeing evidence that cubicles might be making a comeback with the consensus that employees will feel safer. Dr. Peter Raynor, professor at the University of Minnesota’s Division of Environmental Health Sciences and director of the university’s industrial hygiene program states here:

“The cubicle wall is not going to be a perfect barrier…it’s going to prevent those larger droplets from passing within six feet of the person in the next cubicle. From that standpoint, they’re good.”

This is helping take care of the physical problem. And easing that stress for employees to feel safe to come back to the office will allow them to focus on work. Cubicles might be back again!

This is what comes with such rapid change. In these unprecedented times I heard it best in a short interview from Kevin O’Leary with three simple words: “The Unintended Consequences”. He talks about getting back to business and how his own businesses have been saving a lot of money while productivity has been up.

The consequences are not in a negative way but shedding light on the fact that some things that have changed won’t be going back to any sort of normal. We have the technology in front of us to help ease the changes as our industry might become more of a marriage between AV and IT together. Maybe Verizon purchasing Blue Jeans was a step in this direction.

We are not just building out boardrooms, auditoriums or executive suites anymore. We must put in place safety and assurance in our buildouts by being knowledgeable in reopening spaces and reinventing the wheel of what office environments will look like as a whole. As said by Ian McKinnon from The Morning Brew content studio, “Don’t Just Redesign, Rethink”.


AV IN THE HOME

This is something that I am excited to see expand. We are doing more Zoom Happy Hours and talking to friends/family over video much more often than we were 6 months ago. We are even having sports played in front of a Zoom virtual grandstone audience. This video is great! Please watch it!

We can have these experiences from our homes where many of us still feel the safest. Of course, we all want live sporting events, concerts and such to come back, but that may take longer than we so optimistically are hoping for.

We are now seeing all-in-one kits, like the Yamaha CS-700 built out in living rooms for virtual family game nights. Imagine watching a live football game with you on a virtual screen in the stands of the stadium with it still broadcasted on TV all from the comfort of your own home? Doesn’t sound half bad for a little bit until people feel safety precautions are up to par for these events. This could be something temporary or something to look for in the future. Very intrigued with this!
 

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

It will be more than setting up displays on walls or speakers and mics on conference room tables. It will be about building a space that reassures those using it that it can be clean and safe. We are going to be setting a new standard of physical workspaces. Getting rid of the insecurities and rethinking how a hybrid work role fits in our homes and our offices. This will include something called “The Healthy Building Movement” that The Morning Brew briefly speaks about: “Improved airflow, dividers and hygienic surfaces”.

For the AV industry, focuses will have to change to certain sectors when needed.

Sporting events will need large digital screens for fans if that’s how sports open up at the beginning.

Healthcare needs displays, wireless mics, video cameras and so much more for mobile carts within hospitals.

Education will need the right audio and video equipment. Even smartboards in classrooms and possibly at teachers’ homes.

Things are opening in phases. Which means we will be learning as we go but rest assured that now is the time for us to get creative and use the technology in front of us in all ways necessary. Push boundaries and we will be the driving force behind what the future of all AV will be.
 
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