Not all creative types, however, are good fits for integrators to collaborate with, says NanoLumens’ Byrd. “I think every integrator ought to have a designer that understands technology on call.
Integrators need an interior designer that has knowledge of the A/V world and what’s available. A normal interior designer may not know you can wrap a column in LED; therefore they’d never draw or suggest it. It needs to be somebody who understands A/V technology and the art of aesthetics—and they do exist.”
Open Eye is a good example of such a creative firm. “We started as an integrator,” Meszaros says. “Over time we evolved to a strategy firm, because of the questions we were being asked. A couple of us are designers at heart.”
If integrators don’t want to partner with third parties—architects, interior designers or content creation firms—there are other steps they can take to improve their delivery of design-driven solutions, Meszaros says. “I’ve found that the best thing to do is to go to conferences that are focused on environment design. Try to understand the point of view of the design firm.”
How integrators will marry technology and design will vary. Being a Certified Technology Specialist doesn’t necessarily verify that a person can match their shirt with their pants. Whether it be through in-house training and expertise or third-party collaboration, demand for solutions that can cut through the visual clutter dictate that integrators put on their design hats.
Some just might have to borrow those hats.