Lights, Camera, Avnet: Distie Starts A/V Unit

The initiative is the second in Avnet’s strategy to focus on vertical markets. The Tempe, Ariz., distributor announced a health-care-focused unit, HealthPath, last January.

As part of its latest move, Avnet will sell products in three categories: A/V applications from ISVs; server platforms, which will feature Hewlett-Packard workstations; and enhancement products such as video cards, storage systems or networking devices, said Tony Perfilio, sales and marketing manager for the initiative, which does not yet have a name.

“For the solutions that we bring together, the [end user] customer could be NBC News, Paramount Pictures, middle-tier post-production houses that do training films or commercials and even at a ‘prosumer’ level such as wedding [videographers],” said Perfilio, who joined Avnet late last year after running an A/V-focused business at Amherst Technologies, a former solution provider in Merrimack, N.H., that sold its assets to PC Connection last October. He expects about 90 percent of the VARs who buy products from the distributor’s digital content creation initiative will be new Avnet customers.

Travis Sweeney, president of AV Resource, a Salt Lake City-based solution provider that serves high-end production houses, TV stations and higher-education customers, said Avnet’s initiative is unique in this market.

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“Before, I’d have to buy the computers from HP Direct, the software from Avid or Adobe, the cards and hard drives from somewhere else. By the time I had the solution, I’m in for seven or eight purchase orders,” Sweeney said. “[Avnet has] come up with the most popular turnkey solutions and then we can go from there.”

Avnet is talking with other ISV and hardware vendors to enhance its A/V line card, but its primary server platform will be Hewlett-Packard, Perfilio said.

“We’re fulfillment-neutral here, but HP has stepped up and shown a lot of commitment to develop this base,” he said. “It’s a good model because the computing platform we’re using to support the ISV applications lends itself to other markets. HP has chosen 11 different [vertical] markets for its workstation team to focus on. We will work with them to make sure our business plan activities can be used to develop other vertical markets.”

As part of its efforts, Avnet plans to offer education, marketing, lead generation and life-cycle management support to solution providers, Perfilio said.