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AV industry will have significant growth

Icap Global is a company that has had an important expansion in different countries of the region in recent years. Martín Saúl is the one who has led the team that carries out this expansion. 

Richard Santa

Martín Saúl is a well-known man in the Latin American audiovisual industry, not only for being the CEO of Icap Global, a company with a regional presence, but also for his work in favor of the development and growth of the audiovisual industry in our market. 

Martín spoke with AVI LATINOAMÉRICA about his vision of the industry in the region and how he has been able to contribute from the AVIXA board, of which he has been part since the beginning of 2018, to the work and focus of the association in the region. He assured that Latin America is not one. It is a region with many different cultures, customs and language, so it is about looking for a common language from technology to provide the best user experience, that is a very big challenge today.

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"Latin America has a lot of talent, individuals in the AV industry with a lot of experience and talent, which can stand out anywhere in the world and high quality projects are found. But the infrastructure to develop those talents in Latin America is poor. There is a lack of infrastructure, capital, investment, risk and stability in the markets," he said.

AVIXA Directory
In 1993 Martín Saúl attended his first InfoComm Show, since then he began to approach the association. "I initially saw the association as an organizer of fairs. As I participated, I began to see things I didn't know. About 6 years ago AVIXA set itself the goal of being a global association and not an American association doing business elsewhere. And today he is succeeding." 

This attendance at the fairs in the United States, as well as the participation in the regional fairs of Brazil and Colombia since 2011, led Martín to be invited by AVIXA to be part of the board. In this regard, he pointed out that having a participant from Latin America in the board of directors, generated that in all the plans of the association the region is included. Now there are the web pages and contents in Spanish and Portuguese, you have marketing for the territory, all options that had not been had.

"This is my second year of participating on the AVIXA board. In the first year, when I went to the first meeting and the annual development plans for the industry were presented, little was said about the region. In the second meeting this year, I had already heard the word Latin America 4 times in the first hours," he said.

He added that the effort made with the InfoComm fairs in Latin America is wonderful, it is a school, it is learning. "We all know that business in the region does not always make a profit, but every year it continues to be invested for the development of the industry. All fairs in the long run work, being part of these events in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil is fundamental. Fairs encourage the development of the industry without any doubt."

But not only with AVIXA. In 2015 Icap Global entered the Global Presence Alliance, GPA, and they were surprised to see that what they were looking for as a company was being done by the GPA globally.

International expansion
Icap Global's track record in the market spans 60 years. From its beginnings with the manufacture of plastic articles in PVC, the company was designed to be innovative. That same concept was applied in 1992 when they created the electronic and audiovisual area, first with overhead projectors and then with data projection. Thus they were adding brands from different segments of what is now known as the AV industry, including Extron, Sony, achieving a wide range of products. In 1996 they started with Crestron.

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At first Icap was just distribution, but at that time they noticed that there was a need for training and training to be able to sell those technologies and they started doing it. With manufacturers selling directly to the end user and the different crises in Argentina, they led to the distribution business ceasing to make sense and began with integration. In 1999 they made the first projects in auditoriums, convention centers, boardrooms, all in the Argentine market.

To achieve the expansion and positioning that Icap Global has today within the AV industry, they have had a lot of internal development, accumulating experience and education, with priority of having a very good technical level and knowledge. They have always been committed to the education and certifications of AVIXA and the manufacturers.

"Latin America is a territory in permanent crisis, so long-term planning is not possible. What is possible is planning in a stage of long-term survival and loyalty and trust with customers. The same clients asked us to do the same as in Argentina but in other countries in the region," said Martín Saúl.

In 2011 they began to participate in the regional InfoComm fairs in Latin America, making contacts and projects with partners until they were encouraged to open offices in other countries. "The idea is that the customer receives a single experience, both in sales, integration and after-sales. Finding those partners with that philosophy was not an easy task, not because of the talents but because of the companies."

Evolution of the industry
For Martín Saúl, today the end user seeks to coexist with the easiest user interface they can get and the industry must move away from technological romanticism to try to achieve the best sound and the best image within the experience environment that that user seeks.

"Today the essence of the industry is to put technology in a space so that one person can manage their content and communicate with the rest. And collaborate, because productivity needs collaboration, there is no longer solitary work, a collaborative synergy is required. It's a simple explanation of what we do," he said.

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He added that the industry also has good possibilities for expansion with network integration. It is more natural for a professional who already knows how to do control, automation to migrate to network, than for an IT professional to migrate to install speakers.

"In Latin America the audiovisual industry will have in the coming years a very important growth, what is happening is that large companies from other sectors are entering or want to enter the AV industry, some examples are the purchase of Atlona by Panduit, or Anixter that was also linked to the AV industry. We have to take advantage of this capacity that this industry gave us and realize that we have much more knowledge than many of these companies. Value it, strengthen it and integrate it into other specialties", concluded the CEO of Icap Global.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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