Undeniably, COVID-19 has hit a large part of the audio-visual industry. Although this pandemic has created a bottleneck in business, there is still an opportunity to pivot quickly to provide solutions to emerging business needs. For example, audio video solution companies are moving fast by offering digital signage solutions to meet the urgent needs of businesses looking to reopen safely and provide a better experience despite stricter regulations due to COVID-19. Pivots can be subtle – as companies add multiple COVID-19 solutions to their existing portfolio, abandoning their dwindling primary source of income to pursue emerging market opportunities.
Businesses today face the challenge of returning to normal. The often-used “new normal” label indicates that businesses need to function differently not just in a matter of weeks but in a matter of months (or even years). The retail industry in particular must follow very specific health department guidelines to ensure a hygienic shopping experience. They want to understand how to engage customers without having to physically interact. The latest AV technology is instrumental in making this happen, and it’s our responsibility in the AV industry to help retailers and other businesses understand how technology can help customer participation while maintaining a safe distance.
For years, interactivity in digital signage was seen as one of its most useful features. As a result, many businesses are investing in touch interactive audio-visual infrastructure. While people are now avoiding unnecessary physical contact, retail businesses need to find new ways for customers to engage with interactive content without touching it. This situation opens the door for new technologies to complement touch interactive digital signage. The stylus, for example, could serve as a solution to some degree, or perhaps two-way interactivity where customers use their phones to control in-store signage.
Recovery may come sooner than you think. However, the economic recovery may happen sooner than we think. We must be optimistic that the world can cope with the effects of the pandemic in a way that will allow us to continue living with a certain degree of normalcy while remaining vigilant about our health. The audio-video industry is up for the challenge and will make an important contribution to society at large as we grapple with this historic change.