Sharp’s Audio Visual
The Canadian audio visual industry is a vibrant and active one that touches us every day through our digital signage, meeting spaces and classrooms and ever increasingly on our mobile devices. It is also an industry that has become essential to the operation of government, institutions and corporations, resulting in a growing need not only for equipment but for installation, integration and managed services contracts. These stakeholders are the most prominent consumers of audio visual products and services. The increased need for communication and collaboration in these environments is fueling a reliance on audio visual systems.
Sharp’s Audio Visual delivers a complete range of innovative audio visual and digital signage solutions with class-leading professionalism and service. Sharp’s started as a circuit show services company in Alberta in 1923 with Sharp’s founder, William Henry Bowerman Sharp, traveling the country side showing the likes of Buster Keaton films to rural communities that did not have access to movie houses. For the past 91 years, Sharp’s has been a leader in the development of audio visual solutions in Canada.They have an Illustrious history of growth through mergers, acquisitions and organic growth, that now recognize Sharp’s Audio Visual as a coast to coast organization within the country.
“Sharp’s Audio Visual is focused on providing outstanding experiences to our customers through the total life cycle of their audio visual communications needs” says Jeff Faber, President and CEO. “In particular, we are focused on managed and professional services such as consulting services to ensure full needs analysis is provided prior to build out as well as asset management and after sales services.”
Sharp’s is an audio visual systems integrator with a focus on services and was placed sixteenth in the top fifty North American integrators in the Systems Contractor News for 2014. For several years they have been a member of the Global Presence Alliance which offers a sole source solutions approach to global audio visual integration projects. They can facilitate standardized audio visual implementation almost anywhere in the world. This alliance has been very helpful to assisting their clients’ growing geographic needs. “Additionally, we have recently seen a large shift toward the Microsoft Lync based presentation technologies called Lync Room Systems” says Tim St. Louis, Executive Vice President. “I see more of our clients looking to us to facilitate Lync, or soon to be called Skype for Business, integration. We see this as a large contributor to our success in the next few years as it is a logical extension of an organizations overall communications strategy.”
Through consulting, Sharp’s can align the finished product to their client’s environment to maximize usability and return on investment. After sales services are of particular importance because their clients need to actually adopt and use the product. Training their clients is critical to understand how to use the systems that have been provided.
“Additionally, our Rapid Care after sales service level agreement is the most mature in Canada” says Tim St. Louis. “It provides three levels of care with guaranteed response times, loaner equipment and extended warranties to ensure up time on audio visual systems that have become critical to workflow. We can even offer remote monitoring and usage reporting for organizations that need that level of care and data.”
The audio visual industry requires genuine business acumen to succeed. Creativity, innovation and teamwork are the key to success. “The current environment demands that Sharp’s is constantly looking for ways to transform and adapt our business” Says Jeff Faber. “The professional audio visual industry is now less focused on specific devices and instead is centred on cloud and IT-based collaborative solutions that allow our clients to be more productive in their meetings.”
One example of Sharp’s innovation is their investment into the constant development of their Rapid Care service level program. They have recently added an Elite level to their Rapid Care program to manage situation critical audio visual systems such as control rooms to meet market demand. They have also recently established themselves as a SMART Certified Training Centre in three provinces which places them in an elite group of organizations that can offer certification training for SMART Technologies.
“A significant change this year is an overhaul to our business systems to a complete in the cloud ERP solution” says Jeff Faber. “This product will enable us to work faster and smarter to meet our client’s demands. Also, we have established a Presidents council this year in an effort to incubate innovative ideas from within the organization. This council is a mechanism for staff to provide unique ideas to senior management to foster innovation in the business.”
Through managed and professional service products as well as their commitment to building strategic partnerships, Sharp’s is able to be the strategic communication technology partner for their customers, providing them exceptional experiences. They constantly engage their customers through a dedicated team of system designers, consulting services, trainers, programmers, after sales support technicians, project managers and installation professionals. “We have been very successful establishing long term partnerships with key organizations that contribute to our mutual benefit” Says Jeff Faber. “SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary is a perfect example. Sharp’s has acted as the preferred supplier to SAIT for the past twelve years, working closely to provide solutions that deliver maximum value to their stakeholders. In addition, we have supported the organization through annual scholarship contributions.”
Sharp’s Vendor Focus program enables them to align their sales, design and fulfillment efforts, ensuring that clients receive optimal value from the products and systems they provide. They continue to establish partnerships with organizations across Canada who see value in both their regional and national scope and expertise. “We have several large client projects in development that are exciting” says Jeff Faber. “Of course the migration to a new ERP is a big one. Another is Sharp’s Rapid Room templated solutions offering. This is a product that we can offer to our clients at very competitive rates, in a quick time frame with proven technology. I like to say it hits all three angles of the good, fast, cheap paradigm, something rarely seen in technology offerings.”
Sharp’s believes strongly in giving back to the community as it fosters a sense of internal team work and a sense of belonging in the community at large. This is something that Sharp’s promotes internally through our charity committee. “This year, we gave back through Adopt a Family, Toy Mountain and the Food Bank” says Tim St. Louis.
“In fact, through the Adopt a Family program we delivered two truckloads full of gifts and financial support to one needy family.” Sharp’s Audio Visual raises money in numerous ways, including special events, bake sales, internal raffles and most importantly their annual water balloon tossing event where staff pay for the opportunity to pelt the Leadership team with water balloons.
Sharp’s Audio Visual Leadership is focused on delivering the exceptional experience to their clients. They also recognize that they must constantly develop and improve to have a competitive edge. “We will continue to lead the audio visual industry in Canada by being the provider of choice as a result of our innovation” says Jeff Faber.