Ask Hermie


Hermie is the consummate AV Professional, having lurked behind the scenes at Herman Pro AV and Herman Integration Services for years. When it comes to the professional audiovisual business, Hermie walks the walk and talks the talk. In fact, he doesn’t just talk about AV stuff until he’s blue in the face, he’s done it so much he’s blue all over! So, if you have a burning AV question, just “Ask Hermie!”

Dear Hermie,

Long time reader, first-time caller -er, writer. What can I say? I am a big fan of your AV industry insights and this year your column has answered many questions that I was wondering about myself. Thanks for that, Hermie. I’d be honored if you would consider answering my question now. Here it is:

Hermie, as everyone knows, 2020 was a tough year all around. Thankfully, it looks like we’re ending the year on a more positive note, now with approved vaccines being administered and many offices and businesses in different areas slowly but surely opening up again or expanding their activities. So, as we look ahead, Hermie, I’d love to know what you, with your infinite blue wisdom, predict for the Pro AV industry in 2021?

Thanks in advance for answering me, and thanks, Hermie, for all you do! You’re a true-blue hero to many Integrators like me.

Signed – Looking for a Crystal Ball in Crystal Lake

Dear Looking,

First, thanks for being a loyal reader. It’s folks like you that give me a reason to wake up every day and do what I do. The pure joy I get from answering my readers’ questions means I never have a day where I’m feeling blue. I look blue every day, but I’m NEVER in a blue mood, thanks to all of YOU!

Now, for your question. What do I predict for 2021? Well, Looking, you needn’t look any further as Hermie actually has a real Crystal Ball! I found it behind a two-foot-high pile of old National Geographic magazines at a Sunday afternoon yard sale in Tampa. I offered 50 cents for it. The seller told me it had belonged to his late great aunt Masie, who was a bona fide mystic, so he said it was worth much more. Well, I said, since it’s a Crystal Ball, why don’t we ask it how much I’d be willing to pay? And that we did. I asked if I could hold it and while he was carefully lifting it to hand it to me I slipped my hand into my pocket and pulled out the $5.00 bill I always stuff in there “just in case.” As he handed me the Crystal Ball, I held it in my hand on top of the fiver. I told the dude to look into the Crystal Ball and tell me what he sees… I see a $5 bill, he says. I say, then that’s what I’ll pay for it. I lift the Crystal with my other hand, hand the 5 bucks to the guy, and go on my merry blue way…

So I’ve got old great aunt Masie’s Crystal Ball right here and I’m looking at it now. What do I see for the AV Industry in 2021? I see lots of activity and a much better outlook than what we all experienced this year. I see some trends that started this year and that will continue to grow by a lot in 2021. That includes tremendous opportunities in the meeting room and conference room build-outs as remote work and less business travel continues to be the norm – not because of the pandemic, but because of the cost, efficiency, and lifestyle benefits.

I also see big opportunities in the university and school market as classrooms and facilities need to beef up streaming and distance learning capabilities, as well as larger and more strategically placed displays for a better learning experience in a socially distanced environment. On the entertainment side, I see 2021 being a big year for venues of all sizes to upgrade and improve their live streaming and recording capabilities. They’ll need many mics, cameras, displays, controllers, and much more to ensure they can provide high-quality live and remote experiences to both physical and virtual audiences.

I see a lot of activity for AV in hospitals and medical offices. This year pushed many healthcare professionals and patients to try telemedicine. Guess what? They like it! So, my Crystal Ball says that’s not going away any time soon, and in 2021 there will be many opportunities for installing Zoom rooms, displays, cameras, mics, and more in all sorts of medical facilities.

Finally, for 2021 I’ll bring home my predictions… in the home. Many people like working from home, and experts say many companies will switch to a 3-2-2 schedule: 3 days in the office, 2 days working from home, 2 days off. This means many executives and other professionals will need much more AV equipment and more professional setups in their home offices and studios. Great news for those of you serving the residential market.

Gee, this Crystal Ball thing is pretty easy to use! I guess old great aunt Masie knew her stuff.

Now, I predict I am going to wish all of you a very safe, healthy, and happy holiday season and new year! See you in 2021!

Do you have a question for Hermie? Email and he may answer your question here in a future column.