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As we begin to hit the final stretch of Q1 in just a few short weeks, we thought it was the perfect time to discuss some of the trends we are seeing in the AV industry in 2022 thus far. There are undeniably even more trends occurring but these are a few of our favorites.

1. Automation And Touchless Spaces

The pandemic has accelerated desire for many to have automation and touchless environments. These things used to be a nice-to-have (especially in the conference room space) but they are now nearly a must-have for many companies. Touchless technology makes the spread of germs minimal in a space, but it also creates a vastly streamlined user experience as well. Ease of use is not also a priority. It’s a much better experience to just walk into a room and have an occupancy sensor turn the lights an the display in the room on, rather than flip on the switch and find where to turn the display on. That same occupancy sensor behind the scenes, might even have a pre-programmed optimal lighting setting, or temperature adjustment for the room based on who walked into it. These are all possibilities as we forge ahead in the post-pandemic av space.

Today, many spaces are equipped with remote controls and touch panels to perform these operations. as we move through this year and beyond we anticipate being able to simply walk into a room and get to work, while the room itself takes care of the rest.

2. A Welcoming Experience With Video Walls

The comeback is under way as brands will need as many functional features as possible to entice a workforce back into the office setting. In many commercial spaces, there’s often a need for a large video display, especially in entry lobbies. This can be a wonderful hyper branded asset that allows to the space to appear premium and clean. However, it can also serve as the perfect communication device for new visitors. In past years, many spaces have opted for projection in these areas as opposed to large LCD displays or video walls, solely because the cost was much lower. Now, the price of video walls is similar to projection, and the benefits almost always outweigh the slightly higher cost.

We often find ourselves reminding our customers that video walls aren’t as affected by ambient or artificial light, which can be highly present in large lobbies that are well lit most of the time. The clarity of a projector depends on the light in the room and can be diminished in bright spaces. Brands are needing to communicate more frequently and with more information readily available the video wall is often a perfect solution.

3. Remote Control And Remote Management of Conference Rooms & Classrooms

These days, many commercial spaces want to minimize the number of people in one room at a time, as well as the amount of staff that needs to be on-site at all. We don’t anticipate this trend ending anytime soon.

There is definitely and increase in discussions we are having that lead us to believe an increase in demand for remote management software that allows one person, or a small group of people, to log into a remote system and review the status of a set of classrooms or meeting spaces is on the rise. This is especially true with some of our higher education clients, but also in the K-12 space as well.

There aren’t large technical teams in most school districts to take care of maintenance requests, yet alone a large scale remote management request. They often have one IT lead moving between several classrooms to troubleshoot problems, or perform maintenance. A remotely managed classroom however would allow for them to see the status of all devices and each and every classroom online and troubleshoot from another location in or out of the building.

4. Off-site & Remote Work is Here to Stay

The pandemic launched us forward by nearly a decade when it came to remote working volumes, and the technology needs those workers desire. Recent research compiled in collaboration with Business Insider showed that 61% of employees are choosing not to go into their workplace even though it is now open (largely due to their preferred method of work being remote and higher productivity levels that accompany remote work-according to the University of Chicago). Nearly 70% of the workforce state they “wish to remain remote” and never return to an office space.

This trend has led to businesses needing to adapt to attract and retain top talent, because the workforce is clearly never going back to the office the way it did pre-pandemic. Brands are saving on real estate costs and closing satellite offices and even scaling back their corporate headquarters in terms of size and the number of offices needed. We are seeing a boost in the need to support remote workers with at home displays, audio conferencing technology and better microphones for Zoom, and Teams calls. We also anticipate that many brands will have smaller pop-up style facilities that mirror WeWork offices, but are to be used only by that brand’s employees. These smaller meeting centers would be strategically placed near employees’ homes or pockets of areas where a large number of employees live. They could be used when employees want a change of scenery from their home office or for a meeting that is vital to have in-person, but they would be less formal than a traditional office space. They too would have their own av needs to support both in-person, and remote meeting participants.

In conclusion the way we work is changing before our eyes and the the av needs of businesses and end-users alike is changing with it. For more information on how your business can prepare for the current trends in the marketplace; contact Bluewater today. We’d love to be your consultative partner.