We talk to Ben Barnard, AVIXA’s Regional Manager for the UK and Ireland, about the importance of AV in a post-COVID world.
Good AV, or the lack of it, can make or break an event. Even putting aside the logistical concerns of making sure that delegates can see and hear everything, AV is fundamental to adding a sense of spectacle to events: “Without good AV messaging is lost. The impact of an event can be severely diminished, and attendees don’t get the experience they deserve,” says Ben Barnard, AVIXA’s Regional Manager for the UK and Ireland. AVIXA is the Audio Visual and Integrated Experience Association, and its membership is made up of AV professionals from all around the globe. “AV also plays a key part in delivering an accessible and inclusive experience for all.”
Seamless AV is now more important than ever, as hybrid and virtual events continue to stick around: “AV has always been of utmost importance when delivering larger events,” Ben explains. “All events with an online or broadcast element have an AV requirement where a professional approach can make the difference between trying and thriving. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that you get the AV right and that you’re delivering the experience that your attendees deserve. This can range from making sure the environment is visually and acoustically appropriate to making sure that the kit you’re using serves the purpose at hand.”
Now that delegates are flooding back to in-person events, event organisers are looking to add a wow factor to their events, and AV may just be the way to do that: “I think there will certainly be an element of ‘we’re back so let’s put on a good show’. However, having been starved of such spectacles over the last two years, from the customer’s perspective I think there will be a fair amount of ‘thank goodness we’re back’-type sentiment which will be impactful enough in itself.”
The events industry has a sea of wonderful AV suppliers available but finding the right supplier for the right job can feel overwhelming. That’s where AVIXA comes in: “We strive to foster an inclusive community and to act as the industry hub for all things AV. Through trade shows, training and education, certification, standards, market intelligence, and so much more, we aim to serve the AV community and its members and to support growth and innovation in all parts of our industry.”
In such changeable times, it’s difficult to say what the future might hold, but Ben is certain that AV will continue to be an increasingly important aspect of events: “I believe that hybrid elements will remain in larger events for a while longer as the world slowly returns to being comfortable with gathering in large groups. However, if we ever do return to the ‘old normal’ rather than a ‘new normal’ I believe that AV will play a leading role, even more so than before. I think that the bar for user experience has been raised incredibly high over the last two years when we weren’t able to meet in person and that customers will continue to expect these high standards as we discover the new landscape of physical events.”
Top tips to find the perfect AV supplier
- Be clear on what equipment you’ll need. You can’t find the right supplier if you don’t know what you’ll need them to supply.
- Ask for references.
- Weigh price verses quality. It can be tempting to go for the cheapest option, but sometimes it’s better
to spend more and make sure the quality is there.
- Check how long potential suppliers have been in business. Longevity isn’t the only indicator of quality, but it’s a good rule of thumb.
- Ask to visit an event being supplied by your potential supplier.