Commercial Integrator September 2021 - 36

SALES
Prospecting
needs for administrative staff and some
not-so-uncommon requirements for the
scientific staff.
Technology Requirements in Biotech
According to Sharib, life sciences companies
have similar needs to typical office customers:
collaboration, audio, visual, security,
surveillance, and structured & data cabling.
In a mission-critical industry where life-saving
treatments are being developed, these
technologies must work, and systems have
to be deployed quickly when companies
move into a new space - especially when
startups realize they need new technologies
as they move out of incubator spaces into a
more legitimate office or lab environment.
In addition to typical enterprise AV
technology, Inspired Technology and Communications
also offers some of its biotech
clients lab equipment monitoring systems
that alerts personnel if the temperature in a
storage unit holding samples falls outside a
certain temperature range.
According to Steve Grace, founder of audiovisual
consultancy AVH Technology Partners
(formerly AV Helpdesk), the scientific
side of these businesses have unique needs
that are different from a traditional corporate
model. Developing a drug is a 24-hour
research cycle. For example, researchers
working in Cambridge or Boston spend a
full workday developing a drug, and that research
is then passed on to teams working
in Europe, which is then passed on to teams
working in Asia.
Life sciences has always been the bread
and butter for Grace's firm. The company's
first headquarters was in Boston and counts
pharmaceutical giants Novartis and Pfizer
as some of its largest clients along with MIT
and Harvard-affiliated research institution
Broad Institute and others.
The next thing to consider is how scientists
share information. It's not traditional
presentations via PowerPoint, Grace says.
" It's data and visual aids, the visualization
of data, and things like 3D symmetry and
things you don't have in a regular corporate
environment, " Grace says. " But they're
all intertwined with everything else in a
corporate structure, and they follow the
same rules. So, it's really a unique environment
with opportunities for going beyond
36
Becoming a trusted technology partner of the life sciences community isn't all that different
from how an integrator should approach any other vertical market: building trust.
traditional presentations. "
In a lab environment, videoconferencing
and collaboration spaces take on an
atypical setting in which spaces are wide
open so video feeds can capture scientists
as they work.
" They want everybody that works in the
company to see the scientist at work, " Grace
says. " The scientists are kind of out in the
middle of space. It's more public than what
you'd have in a traditional meeting space,
and it's more interactively collaborative. "
How To Get Your Feet Wet in
the Life Sciences Sector
Given this very attractive opportunity to
partner with an industry that never seems to
be out of cash and invests in state-of-the-art
facilities, integration firms should consider aggressively
targeting the life sciences industry.
Do your homework and be ready to
answer questions. Biotech executives - and
even their end users - are researchers by
trade and will have done their homework
when sourcing audiovisual technologies,
so you should be just as prepared.
According to Grace, biotech companies
will take your offerings and look at the
market for alternatives if they think there are
better solutions out there.
" You don't want to be caught in that
position, so do your research, " Grace says.
Since many of these companies are
Commercial Integrator SEPTEMBER 2021
backed by deep-pocketed investors and
routinely win grants and tax benefits from
federal, state and local partners, integrators
don't have to restrict offerings to cost-effective
solutions.
Instead, these organizations prioritize
performance, reliability, and service.
" They will spend the money, " Grace says.
Another angle to take is partnering with
real estate investment firms that are capitalizing
on the biotech goldrush and building
large lab and office space and then leasing
to smaller biotech companies, Grace says.
According to Sharib, becoming a trusted
technology partner of the life sciences
community isn't all that different from how
an integrator should approach any other
vertical market: building trust.
That step alone will help your integration
firm win more projects in this industry
because of the close-knit nature of the relatively
small life sciences community. Once
you let one company know you can work in
their space and solve their communication
technology issues, landing more biotech
clients becomes easier.
Sharib again pointed to the firm's biotech
customer that got its start in a small incubator
space in a Cambridge basement.
" They're now flying us everywhere, "
Sharib says. " That relationship helped us
form synergistic relationships with people
that knew each other. " CI
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Commercial Integrator September 2021

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Commercial Integrator September 2021 - 1
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