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2017 AVI-SPL Sales Summit - Together Towards Tomorrow

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2017 AVI-SPL Sales Summit - Together Towards Tomorrow
    

By: -
15 Apr 2017
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April 12, 2017 - Just two short weeks after the Enterprise Connect event, I’m back in Orlando attending AVI-SPL’s annual sales event.  This is either my fourth or fifth time at this event.

All in all, more than 500 people were in attendance including more than 300 (yes – not a typo) AVI-SPL folks and a few hundred “others” (vendor partners, press, etc.).

For the analysts / press, this was a one-day event.  For the AVI-SPL crew, however, this was a multi-day marathon involving sales meetings, strategy sessions, and more.

The morning began with a welcome / kick-off session hosted by AVI-SPL CEO John Zettel.  Soon after, Dale Bottcher (SVP of Sales / Marketing) took over and ran through some of the company’s accomplishments in the last 12 months. 

While some of the items are not for public release, here are a few interesting nuggets about AVI-SPL’s efforts in the last year …

  • Opened an office in Frankfurt, Germany.  While the majority of the company’s revenue stems from the US, AVI-SPL also has offices in five Canadian cities, in the UK, and in Dubai.
  • Acquired Anderson AV – an AV integration firm founded in 1998, headquartered in San Diego, with ~ 180 employees
  • Acquired VideoLink – a Boston-based broadcast and video production company.  As a part of the acquisition, AVI-SPL also acquired ReadyCam, a patented all-in-one video studio (see video) and VideoLink’s EnhancedIP network that enables the cost effective transfer of high quality video assets without the use of dedicated fiber.
  • Launched a Global Accounts Management Program
  • Created a Global Customer Advisory Board
  • Added more than 320 new employees (total headcount is now almost 1,900)

And while we aren’t allowed to publish the company’s 2016 revenue numbers at this point, this team completed the above while simultaneously generating solid year-over-year growth in both revenue and total number of deals.  Not too shabby.

After the morning sessions, we were given time to tour the show floor which included dozens of vendors here to show their wares to the 200+ person AVI-SPL salesforce.  For AVI-SPL’s sellers, this is their annual opportunity to see new products, talk to key vendor partners, and play with the various toys they specify and pitch every day.  According to the vendors I spoke with, the face-to-face interaction with the sales folks generates mindshare that translates into revenue.

This year the expo floor was divided into two parts.  The first part, the Emerging Partner area, was home to vendors including (in alphabetical order):

  • Dept60 demonstrating its Visualz cloud-based digital signage platform
  • Haivision showing its Enterprise Video Platform for content creation, management, and delivery
  • Mersive highlighting some of the advanced features of its Solstice wireless presentation solution
  • Navori presenting its HTML5-based digital signage solution
  • Pexip describing the features and functions of its virtualized, distributed Infinity platform

The second part, which was the main expo area, included more than 40 other vendors (see photo below).

The ability to attract so many vendors is a testament to AVI-SPL’s significance in the AV and collaboration space.  And the vendor list itself highlights some of the areas of interest to AVI-SPL including:

  • Ideation (Bluescape, Microsoft, NEC, Oblong, Prysm, Smart)
  • Control systems (AMX / Harman and Crestron)
  • Audio systems (Biamp, QSC, Sennheiser, Shure)
  • Digital signage (Barco X20, Dept60, Navori, etc.)

To be clear, the show floor was also heavily populated by display and projector vendors.  However, it is clear that the company is working hard to move higher up in the value chain.

Final note – at Enterprise Connect, AVI-SPL announced the release of version 4.0 of its meeting management and monitoring platform, Symphony.  This platform includes a number of differentiated and powerful capabilities including a logic / intelligence engine that automates specific functions (e.g. meeting approval processes, etc.) on a per-company, per-facility, per-room, or even per-invited-user basis).  Today, Symphony powers the company’s managed service offering.  But if I read my tea leaves correctly, I think we’ll see Symphony take an even more critical role in the very near future (think InfoComm).  Stay tuned. 

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