With the European vote just days away, the country is holding its breath to find out ‘should we stay or should we go.’
The AV industry is being affected by the uncertainty before the vote and will undoubtedly be affected by the result, whatever that may be.
Of course, no-one can fully predict the impact on industry of the vote. A recent survey of technology business leaders found a large majority looking to vote yes to remaining in the EU. The reasons cited included the attractiveness of the UK for international investment, global competitiveness, and that the UK would have a reduced influence on issues affecting business if we left. On the other hand, those in favour of an exit thought the UK would have more flexibility within the global economy, and welcomed the prospect of a move away from the EU imposed regulatory burden.
Within the AV channel are many distributors and manufacturers who are buying abroad, and end-users who have branches outside the UK. We must consider how to help navigate any change and communicate the implications of the decision across the channel. For example, manufacturers may choose not to have a UK base to avoid additional UK trade costs should Brexit be successful. And whilst that might be good news for distributors who can pick up the business, it could have a knock on effect on margin. There may also be an effect on stock and fulfillment. The other side of the argument is that even within the EU, Europe is not very joined up. Organisations are used to buying in various different currencies and the UK channel is quite self sufficient.
When change is in the air, it creates uncertainty and the result of that for many users is a delay on decisions to invest. Until the outcome of the vote is known, many organisations have decided it is safer to sit tight for the time being.
There are some concerns about how the vote will affect access to trained staff. Some in the exit camp feel that a reduction in migration from the EU will open up opportunities for companies to recruit the very best candidates from across the globe. Those in favour of staying note that skilled staff from the UK may be more likely to emigrate if we leave, causing a reduction in the availability of home grown talent.
Whilst there may well be challenges thrown up by the vote, organisations who embrace the result, whichever way it goes, and seek out the opportunities will be the winners.
What do you think the effect of the vote will be on business? Let us know using the hashtag # AVEUref