Visions of growth

The Advisor asks Ahmad Hijazi, Business Development Manager, LFD Solutions at Samsung Gulf Electronics on the future of visual communication for smes.

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By  Administrator Published  June 15, 2008

The Advisor asks Ahmad Hijazi, Business Development Manager, LFD Solutions at Samsung Gulf Electronics on the future of visual communication for SMEs.

How has the SME market (relevant to AV & IT sector) in the Middle East, grown over these years?

During the last few years, we witnessed an accelerated economic boom in the Middle East, driven by oil prices, shift of investment capital and growth in key investment sectors.

This has fuelled growth specifically in the IT sector, being one of the main areas of infrastructure developments which normally accompany these booms.

There are a lot of cutting-edge solutions which might be an overkill, and some will fall short of the real requirements.

IT and AV were subject to the modernisation and infrastructure development trend which in turn has opened new doors and allowed for an increased number of small and medium businesses to operate in different fields, including IT and AV infrastructure solutions providers which definitely need to cater to new and increasing needs.

What kind of AV and integrated technologies do SMEs invest in?

Business success now is not as simple as it was 15 years ago.

A business strategy these days absolutely has - among other factors - to be backed by a solid and clear Technical/ IT vision, and this shows in the increasing numbers of CIOs/ CTOs participating in direction and strategy planning for their businesses, and although one might automatically think about infrastructure when we mention information/technical chiefs, this is very far from accurate.

The developments in the technical and IT departments are becoming a part of the company's identity and then a determinant for fields of potential expansion and growth.

Growing outsourcing trends and accepting it as the norm for implementing solutions and managed services, a lot of focus from the side of organisations is going into bringing, training and maintaining the technical talent which has the ability to direct both the need and the offering as well as the implementation of these solutions.

These investment also covers the much needed IT and A/V tools to have the solid, scalable and modern infrastructure, starting from advanced presentation and conference room equipment, conferencing and communications tools (incorporating AV solutions to the system), more advanced and decentralised AV architectures (both for internal as well as customer-accessed sites), all the way to digital signage incorporating the new guidelines for delivering messages to an exceedingly busier consumer, this is one of very important fields of new marketing, which can add value to the organisation and can potentially turn its display solution into a cash-generating investment (advertising).

These are some of the fields that Samsung, as a display-solutions leader, is trying to develop.

Do you feel that SMEs in this region are up to date with the options available? Do SMEs in this region effectively employ AV & integrated technology solutions in their organisation? Please provide specific market figures?

There is certainly much advancement done in this field, and we are able to see major demand for certain solutions from the market, but this is just the beginning. We believe that there is more to come, and the demand is yet to shift and advance to numerous new segments and uses.

There will be increased functionalities and requirement/ spending. The figures are still not very accurate but there is an obvious trend which we can sense from the market.

SMEs in general are knowledgeable about the cutting-edge display solutions available, and our region always has good presence in global IT exhibitions, but there is a long way before these solutions become the norm and a standard across the segments.

This should happen also in parallel when the modernization and technology driven trend, becomes more rooted in our business culture.

How do you as a vendor work with your channel partners to ensure that your prospective and existing clients choose the right solution for their organisation?

This is a very important question and is at the heart of our approach to the markets. Our business group is called Large Format Display (LFD) Solutions. The name solutions is to point specifically at that.

The display product doesn't have to be just a peripheral anymore, but rather a terminal which can connect to a network, and offer advanced control and versatility to the user, maybe even have its own control and access to the main server from which it can cooperate for more information sharing.

As the product becomes more advanced, and the business becomes a solution business, the role of the channel partner gains a much bigger importance compared to the traditional case of just supply.

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