When Nigel Steljes made public his plans to introduce a new brand to the burgeoning IFPD, even he cannot have dreamed of the progress Avocor would make in just 9 months. From a UK announcement, on the 1st June, came the recent pan-European expansion, and now the opening of North American operations under the leadership of industry heavy-hitter Scott Hix. Here is the story so far.
Nigel Steljes, founder and Managing Director of Avocor: “We are in a situation where the world’s most successful software company is achieving great success with one of its first hardware products in the IFPD sector. Because Avocor is Windows-based, questions of productivity and ease-of-use do not even arise.”
Scott Hix, President and CEO of Avocor Americas and board member of Avocor: Global: “Both Nigel and I come with teams that have experience of developing operations that support the customer experience for global brands.”
Avocor, the Nigel Steljes-led interactive and touch technology business, has announced the opening of its North American operation, under the direction of well-known industry figure, Scott Hix. Hix joins Avocor as President and CEO of Avocor Americas and board member of Avocor Global. He has over twenty years of successive P&L leadership at TargetPath, Sol Republic, Planar Systems and InFocus, driving high growth organically and through M&A. He has broad experience in marketing product portfolios to consumers, education, government, small business and large corporate accounts through mass merchandising as well as value-add channels.
Hix has over twenty years of global experience leading organisations in North and Latin America, Europe and Asia. He will be joining Nigel Steljes, founder and Managing Director of Avocor. The two have a long standing relationship, starting over 25 years ago when Steljes first launched display technology into the UK market. Hix explained to AV News that the Avocor project is not something that has been thought-up over the last few months. Steljes and Hix both have experience of building brands from start-ups to global significance, and have formulated some ambitious plans for Avocor.
“The market for interactivity and touch has reached an ‘inflection point’ where 10x growth is not unusual,” says Hix. “The CE majors have viewed the market as small and specialist, with just 100,000 units sold in the last 8 years. We are addressing a potential market of 1 million units over the next 3 years. That is why there is room for a new brand, winning customers through organic growth in the market with no immediate need to take share from competitors.”
Avocor’s portfolio of products includes a complete range of large format, interactive touch screens designed to enhance collaboration in the corporate, government and education markets. Steljes believes that it is the essential logic underpinning the Avocor range that gives the company its greatest advantage:
“We are in a situation where the world’s most successful software company is achieving great success with one of its first hardware products in the IFPD sector. Because Avocor is Windows-based, questions of productivity and ease-of-use do not even arise.”
Avocor’s current range includes IFPDs from 65” to 84” diagonal, with the series having a feature set including an on-board PC enabled with a Microsoft Windows 10 operating system powered by a built-in full-feature Quad core Intel processor. Avocor says that this is designed to deliver a far superior performance to competitive solutions in the market.
Steljes argues that these features play well within the corporate market, where Avocor products can be deployed immediately in the three key areas of HR and training, IT and integration and facilities, because there are no real barriers to adoption. He promises a succession of new products launched at the major shows next year. Hix says that this is possible because Avocor is able to focus on interactive and touch rather than standard monitors, projectors and other types of display which can distract even major manufacturers.
Hix believes that Avocor’s current panel configuration is ideal for the American market: “There is a definite gap in the market for panels with such unique features that contribute to enhancing collaboration and engagement, while remaining cost-effective and easy to use.”
The Windows 10 operating system enables users to access, manage and create content directly through the familiar Microsoft user interface. In addition, users can browse the Internet and gain access to thousands of apps available through the Windows store straight from the panel.
The panels are UHD / 4K guaranteeing high quality images, while featuring InGlass touch screen technology which replicates the responsive, smooth, intelligent and accurate performance of a tablet on a large format display. The panels are also OPS compliant, featuring a built in slot located on the back of the touch screen.
“The Avocor range of interactive panels has proven itself in the UK and across Europe, and I’m delighted to be heading up its introduction into the US,” said Hix. Located in Wilsonville, Oregon, the company will operate through a network of specialist AV resellers and distributors. Challenged to explain how a fast-growth start-up will cope with demands for support from both the channel and end-users, Hix promised that: “Both Nigel and I come with teams that have experience of developing operations that support the customer experience for global brands.”
With its technology sitting on Microsoft’s Window’s platform, AV News has witnessed (for example, at UC Expo earlier this year) the enthusiastic response of IT / UC professionals to Avocor. Steljes report similar reactions from both channel partners and prospective key end-users at InfoComm earlier this year.
How will Avocor fair with the traditionally conservative education buyers? Hix believes that: “Customers are canny. They understand that Avocor panels are productive, easy-to-use and offer great value. We are confident that we can achieve a balance between our education and corporate sales.” BETT will be interesting next year.