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Small vendors could get eaten during meeting room market slump

16 Apr 2020

Futuresource Consulting has reported that demand for meeting room control (MRC) installations across all world regions slumped during Q1 2020 and that vendors do not foresee this situation changing during this current, second quarter.

MRC refers to full solutions for meeting rooms that include audio and visual solutions as well as the software that controls them.

“Supply issues from China during Q1 have been eclipsed by a lack of demand in the corporate and education verticals, with some businesses closed, others with staff working remotely and the higher education sector currently frozen,” a statement from Futuresource states.

“Many integrators are not operating, having had to furlough staff. There could be rationalisation amongst the AV integrator landscape across all world regions as a result. The only exception for the wider signal distribution (SD) sector has been for some urgent video transport installations for government departments and hospitals.”

However, there is still hope for those organisations who can maintain their business through the pandemic, as some higher education institutions are putting out tenders for the following academic year.

As a result, there is some hope for a slow recovery over the latter half of 2020 as end-users reach into their currently-stalled budgets.

On the downside, manufacturing shortages could lead to supply issues which will affect smaller vendors who keep less inventory than their bigger competitors. 

“This potential supply situation later in 2020 could be compounded by overall capacity issues. There are concerns that smaller Chinese ODMs to the MRC (and SD) vendors could have to close their doors during 2020, after two or more quarters of downturn,” the statement says.

The result could be that many of the smaller players end up being acquired as the market they serve shrinks.

“Post COVID-19, the impact on the MRC (& SD) sectors could well be that companies realise that remote working and videoconferencing is operationally effective, allowing staff to work remotely more frequently and reducing the need for meeting rooms, huddle spaces and MRC (& SD) installations. Some lower-level spend on semi-pro webcams, microphones, headsets and even speakers for staff to use remotely may take place instead.”

Futuresource expects that this market slump will last into 2021 thanks to a combination of these factors and an expected continuation of remote working.

In order to survive, smaller companies may have to “become leaner and more efficient in terms of headcount and make more use of remote monitoring and diagnostics solutions in order to limit how often they have to ‘roll the trucks’ to customers’ sites.”

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