Five Questions with ZeeVee CEO Bob Michaels
As 2023 comes to a close, Bob shares his reflections on the pro AV market over the last 12 months and his predictions for what 2024 may bring.
How would you characterize the pro AV market in 2023?
I would say that the market was very fluid. The industry came into the year with a significant number of supply chain issues remaining and integrators placing orders far in advance, trying to cover their tracks and secure whatever products they could get.
Throughout the year, we saw an improvement in the situation as integrators worked to conclude projects and bring their inventories down to more historic levels. Around the middle of the year, buying patterns shifted with customers ordering four to five months in advance. The pattern continued to shift to two to four months and then two to three months. Now, towards the end of the year, we seem to be at a point where many integrators think that the supply chain issues are totally gone and products can be delivered at the drop of a hat. That's just not the case.
We’ve all seen almost daily announcements from companies claiming that their supply chain issues are resolved, but that doesn't equate to every single product being in stock every day. As a result, there are growing and false expectations amongst many customers that are going to lead to delays and disappointment. Of course, there are always last-minute requirements that surface and we all need to deal with those on a case-by-case basis.
Our two to three week deliveries over the past couple years were a lifesaver to many of our customers and I am pleased to note that our lead times today remain consistent.
How would you describe where the industry is in terms of the adoption of AV over IP in 2023?
There was much greater acceptance of AVoIP in 2023 and it’s fair to say it’s become the mainstream solution. HDBaseT and matrix systems still hold the majority of the market, but we’ve seen a major shift in projects leading with AVoIP in just about every application across all of the industry’s vertical markets. We’re especially seeing more widespread demand for the distribution of uncompressed video as more customers recognize the value of perfect image quality and the myriad of additional features, functions and capabilities continuing to be incorporated into the technology. That said, compressed video via 1Gb network systems still leads the way, especially in smaller applications. Our product offerings encompass both technologies so that we can best address customer needs and demands.
What were the top vertical markets for ZeeVee in 2023?
With more and more people returning to out of home work places, we continue to see strong demand for enterprise and corporate applications. The education sector has always been a leading vertical for us, and that too, looks to continue in the new year. Entertainment and hospitality-related venues such as stadiums, sports bars and restaurants invested after a long drought brought about by COVID and demand on the clinical front continued to build with greater demand for the highest level of quality imaging. In a nutshell, we’ve seen strong activity across many verticals. In 2024, we see more of the same in the enterprise and corporate markets. Education is always strong, especially now as so many students are back on college campuses and seeking high tech resources. With people at long last getting out, you can imagine the potential expansion of screens in places where large amounts of people gather including convention centers, casinos, theaters and sports arenas and we look to contribute accordingly in those venues as well.
What will ZeeVee be focused on for 2024, product and program-wise?
Security continues to be a priority for us as concerns in this area seem to be close to the top of the list of needs and wants in almost every application. No one wants to contend with unauthorized access issues, so making certain that outsiders cannot compromise your network is critical. This is especially true when it comes to government-facing businesses or the military.
Beyond that, we'll continue to enhance the capabilities of all of our AVoIP products. We've also got a new set of streaming products that we’re ready to launch in the first quarter. In terms of programs for 2024, we’ll keep an emphasis on educating our customers on the best practices for AV signal distribution in all environments.
What factors do you think will drive AVoIP system sales in the U.S. and abroad?
The more capability you can build into a product, the greater use cases you can find. Whether it be video and audio quality, ease of system setup or the potential to readily expand the installation, AV over IP offers a multitude of benefits over any other technology.
The use of AVoIP and SDVoE opens new worlds and opportunities. We're moving video over ethernet, so the more applications or software solutions we can create means people don't necessarily have to change hardware in order to get significant enhancements in the products that are currently in place. This technology offers unlimited opportunities for customers to ultimately find greater use and get more out of systems in which they’ve already invested.
This opportunity, of course, is not limited to the United States. Applications might be somewhat different from country to country, but people are now able to easily replicate deployments in various locations. They can start off in New York City, deploy a second installation in Rio and a third in Jakarta. The technology allows for remote access and troubleshooting, enabling manufacturers and suppliers to solve more problems readily and quickly from a distance – eliminating onsite service calls for significant savings of time, money and aggravation.
Here's to a strong finish to 2023 to our friends, colleagues and partners. We look forward to continuing to grow strong and fruitful relationships with each of you in the year ahead.
All the best,