ON THE ADVANCE: Mirroring national trends, 2010 was a year of strengthening recovery for Advanced AV. Economic indicators and anecdotal evidence, say its principals, point to a return to pre-recession form, both for Advanced AV and the overall industry.

“At the end of 2009 we straightened up a bit,” says company President Mike Boettcher. “That set us up for a very good 2010, and a good beginning to this year. Although it’s tough to anticipate what’s down the road, all indications so far are that things seem to be bouncing back. The activity is still high, and that’s a good sign.”

Advanced AV was recently honored with a DIGI Award for services provided to two Swiss Farms locations. Digital signage, predicts VP of Marketing & Sales John Greene, will continue to foster Advanced AV’s growth in 2011. “We’re also very intent on focusing on our service contracts and Managed Services Offering,” he adds. “We’ve had great success this past year in that. One of the service staffing opportunities that we were involved in brought us international exposure. We’ve been very successful and anticipate continued success and growth for Advanced in this area.”

A commitment to exemplary service is demonstrated by Advanced AV’s 24/7 ROW solution, a “24/7/365 rest-of-world response,” says Greene, that is presently being developed and introduced to existing customers. “Many of our clients,” he explains, “are multiple-location, international companies. Our clients are requiring that deliverable; we have met that obligation over the past year and are anticipating growth for 2011.”

Among projects completed in 2010 were a nurse training simulation center for a healthcare facility; and a corporate training solution utilizing live video situational simulation exercises, together with streaming and test archival review to classroom spaces.

Though it’s neither a new nor surprising phenomenon, teleconferencing is increasingly in demand among Advanced AV’s clients, most of which are in the commercial and higher education fields. “It’s certainly being driven by Cisco’s influence,” says Boettcher, citing the networking giant’s recent acquisition of Norwegian videoconferencing company Tandberg, “and the effect that they’re having on the marketplace. We see Polycom making an effort there as well.

“We’ve seen a bit more activity in the videoconferencing realm in higher education — schools wanting to collaborate.” Boettcher adds. “Maybe it’s a handful of schools getting together on a major research project, and want to find better ways to communicate.”

But as technology brings ever greater and further-reaching capabilities to users, an increased level of complexity is a likelihood. This is where a specialized integrator of professional audiovisual systems shines: Advanced AV’s comprehensive service and support becomes more essential as businesses and educational institutions incorporate new technology.

“Our strength,” says Greene, “is understanding a project’s requirements from the very beginning: Conceptual idea–the dream-and-hope vision–through to service and support of that final decision. We offer a process and the staffing to accomplish that conceptual idea all the way through to the end. We work very well not only with clients but also with the consultant community. Another measurement of our success has been support of technology. There’s a major investment in technology — teleconferencing being one of them — and putting it in front of clients where they need support, not only for setting up the meeting, but operation of the hardware. These are becoming pertinent issues for us, and for the client as well. Their business is whatever it might be: if it’s pharma, their primary objective is making medicine. They don’t necessarily have the ability to hire the staff to hold the meeting.”

“A lot of that,” Boettcher observes, “has also been driven by the economy. Clients who once had a staff of four or five people that handled the AV in their facility — they’re one of the first groups to get cut. That’s given us a bit of a spark for that type of solution — an onsite managed-services deliverable.”

“We anticipate 2011 to be a great year,” Greene concludes. “There’s no hard economic indicators backing this, but in discussing what has to get done by some clients, the amount of money they have set up, and what they’re being pressed to do, AV stands to be a good focus for a lot of people this year.”