I recently had the pleasure of chatting with representatives from three important projector manufacturers for an upcoming Projection Expo panel discussion. It was hardly the usual tradeshow booth chatter. The unprecedented worldwide pandemic we've lived through for the last 15 months unexpectedly drove some industries to new financial heights, but it brought the projector business as near to a grinding halt as can be imagined. So many of our critical markets—schools and universities, theme parks, corporate facilities, even houses of worship—were shuttered for months, and at best put off planned installation projects. At the same time, consumers were locked down in their homes, often with their young children and teenagers, navigating the new paradigms of remote work, remote schooling, and a stupendous diet of binge-watching on-demand TV and movies.
How did these changes affect the business, what opportunities or surprises emerged, and where are things today as ProjectorCentral prepares to begin its 2nd annual Projection Expo? These are the questions I put to Ryan Pitterle, product manager for the projector line at Sharp NEC Display Solutions; Rich Ventura, VP at Sony B2B North America overseeing all visual solutions, and Jeff Muto, business line director in charge of projectors and LCD display at ViewSonic. Each offered perspective on the various commercial sides of the business while ViewSonic's Muto and Sony's Ventura also shared some observations of how consumer projectors fared in the product categories and markets their brands participate in.
Without giving too much away—a video of our full Zoom chat will be available to Expo attendees on Day 2 of the Expo on June 16th—I will say that the news was encouraging. All signs seem to point now to a slow return to buying by the key segments, though with adjustments in some cases of the type of product customers are specifying as they react to new hybrid work and school demands.
To watch the panel discussion, you can register your email address for a free Expo badge, which also gains access from June 15-17 to the extensive product information found in the virtual booths of our 14 exhibitors.
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