By: Héctor Gómez Pérez
There is no doubt about the great influence that parents have on the formation and future of their children, and jorge Him, general manager of Gauss Systems, and Professional of the month representing Central America, can account for that.
When asked about how he became interested in the industry, Him says: "I think it came in my blood since my mother worked in theater and I remember that when I was a child I spent it going around the theater, stuck in the light console and the audio console. During my higher studies I was a conference organizer and coordinated university events in hotels and in the faculty, at that time I was a client with many technology needs, which at that time there was no in our country, to make our presentations. "
But let's start at the beginning. Our professional of the month was born on April 10, 1965 in Panama City and studied electromechanical engineering. At the end of his university degree he was employed in different companies in the departments of engineering, maintenance and sales, but his move to the audiovisual industry was in 1995 when he founded his own company: Gauss Systems.
An innovative idea
Big business definitely comes from a simple, but innovative idea. The company of our Professional of the month was born from the intention he had to acquire a Data Panel to rent it to the students who made conferences in various spaces of the university. That's how he got the money to buy his first asset and started a new battle.
"I had to learn how to use it because I had no idea; I had to learn how to sell the new service that neither I nor the customers knew about because at that time only overhead projectors were used. Initially I offered the service to the hotel with which I worked the most as a client, at that time the equipment was rented once or maximum twice a month, "recalls Him.
After six months he hired his first employee and a year later he made the first bank loan to buy a VGA projector (640 x 480), which at that time cost a real fortune. In this way he began to acquire more equipment and diversified the product line, encouraged by his customers who every day had new and challenging needs.
Participating in his first InfoComm (1999) was an eye-opening experience. "At that event I met many people from different parts of the world who did the same thing as me and who had the same problems, even if they spoke another language. There I was surprised because I realized that the business I thought I had invented already existed long ago in other parts of the world, I knew how great the industry is and how much I still needed to learn."
Of that time when the only equipment of the company was rented once a month only the memory remains. By 2005 Gauss Systems offered the in-house service in five hotels to serve the market of corporate clients who carried out their trainings, launches and conferences.
In 2007 the company diversified its activities and began to sell audio and video equipment, and began to offer installation services in audiovisual rooms. It is currently opening a rental office in Nicaragua and in 2010 it will open a branch in a Panamanian city and another in a Central American country.
Today, out of 50 projectors that Gauss Systems has in stock, it rents an average of 30 daily. That is why the beginnings are a good memory.
The region, the industry and the future
According to our Professional of the Month, the crisis seasons, from which only some countries have begun to emerge, are good for some companies, as is the case of the one he directs. "The less sales companies make, the more they must invest in promotion or training. Audiovisual aids, thank God that has been the behavior in our country, although this can change, "said Him.
He also pointed out that since it began 15 years ago in the industry, the evolution that Panama has suffered in audiovisual matters has been substantial, all because it has a better informed client and that demands more technology. "This forces rental companies to invest more in new technology, which is a risk because these teams are not going to have a good rotation until they become fashionable, in that period of time you have to educate the customer."
One aspect on which Him placed special emphasis was on the education and training that people involved with the A/V industry must have to offer a quality service, all due to the changing nature of it. "Audiovisual equipment and systems become obsolete every six months maximum because every day manufacturers release new products, cheaper and with better operating characteristics."
Another issue discussed with the guest was the one that referred to the threats faced by the industry and particularly the rental of audiovisual equipment in Panama. In his opinion"the demand for rental equipment is growing more and more hand in hand with tourism, but the threat is that hotels are learning and can replace AV companies. In addition, fixed installations have been growing by taking away the rental market because many companies have preferred to install good conference rooms so as not to have to rent the equipment".
Him will continue in his Panama thinking of new ideas to project his company to other countries in the region, convinced, as he himself points out, that the service 24 hours a day, the high investment in equipment, his honest and friendly collaborators, the high investment in training and the management of the image and advertising, are factors that make a difference in the business.