Brian Edwards: Until recently, technology like that which ETI provides has been predominantly viewed as a “value-added afterthought” or venue enhancement that revitalized an existing environment. Increasingly, brands and real estate developers have shown an entirely new philosophy. They want technology to become part of their (project’s) DNA in the earliest stages of ideation. We are now invited to the table with architects, engineers, interior designers and brand managers at the very beginning of the design process. I think this essential paradigm shift is one that will have positive short-term and long-term effects on the impact and the cost of the technology within the environment.
NL: Don’t you believe that the software and hardware providers have been stepping up their game to keep apace with the increased client demands for flexibility, scalability and manageable maintenance?
BE: Many are, absolutely. Not only are clients more demanding, but so are technology integrators like ETI. Every year we are observing quantum leaps in platforms and programs being offered. The appetite for the “latest, smartest, sexiest, most progressive” technology is becoming a required asset for professionals and users who are mandating increased thresholds of smart solutions than ever before. Fortunately, there are system creators that recognize this ramp-up and are rising to the demand. For many of them, R&D is their company’s life force and without it, their product offerings would be destined for quick obsolescence.
NL: How are you seeing this new “Starring Role” for technology advancing further within the parameters of your core clientele: retailers, hotels and themed environments?
BE: As more and more of our customers appreciate the increased accessibility of technology and its potential for creating revenue streams for them, we will experience not only a more robust role for ETI but bigger demands on us as well. By this I mean that as our clients become more techno-savvy, I expect them to see opportunities to expand technology’s utility that don’t even exist yet. That will put the onus on ETI to either invent or discover platforms that give them what they want. Although today’s platforms can offer multi-media, intelligent interactivity on demand, who knows where it will all end up? One thing is for certain: it (technology development) is changing at warp speed and although we are successfully keeping up with the latest innovations, it is more challenging to do so than ever before.
NL: Where does the real juice (pardon the pun) lie with today’s technology?
BE: I firmly believe that the content creators, brand managers and agencies have the power to shape the future of not only their brands but our methods. As their understanding of current offerings become more apparent, they will naturally develop more complex stories and experiences. The storytellers hold the key to the future of technology as we know it today and will spur unforeseen and mind-blowing innovations to emerge from technology providers.
NL: Thank you Brian! Your three decades of thought leadership in the AV Integration space provides a great backdrop in your current observations and vision. I’m looking forward to the next decade, working together to change our world through the use of cutting edge technology, software, and digital content.