JUAN CARLOS ALCÁZAR

Mexico 2021 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

An AV integrator, Grupo Covix has led the Mexican market for decades and now focuses on boardrooms, control rooms, and digital signage solutions.

Juan Carlos Alcázar
BIOGRAPHY

Juan Carlos Alcázar worked for Cisco Systems after getting a computer science degree in 2001. After three years, he moved to Grupo Covix, a company headquartered in Mexico City and founded in 1983 by his father. He worked in project management for three years and then moved to sales. He currently serves as CEO. Alcázar graduated in business administration at IPADE. Grupo Covix entered the exclusive PSNI Global Alliance in 2018, and Alcázar was selected as a board member representing Latin America for the 2019-2021 period.

In what ways have you changed your business model as an AV provider to adapt to the new administration in 2018 and the pandemic?

2019 was not a good year because of the new administration. Our company has been in business for 38 years, but up to 10 years ago, about 80% of our work was with the government. In the last eight years, we have had to switch to the private sector, and it is currently about 70% private sector and 30% public, which is less risky and completely different. The projects are smaller, and our competitors are smaller, so we have to reduce margins. We have had to hire more people, including English-speaking sales people and more millennials. Everything has changed. One of the ways we accomplished this transformation is through international associations. In 2018, we joined the Professional Services Network International (PSNI), which is based in Oklahoma. PSNI conducted a due diligence of our company and examined our finances. It has a presence in over 50 countries across the world and connect global companies to its network in each city. In 2020, we did a project in Mexico City for a company headquartered in Brazil as well as a project in Mexico City and Guadalajara for a Spanish company. We are a Mexican company with headquarters in Mexico City and offices in Miami, though we do business all over Latin America.

What strategies do you use to win projects from international companies?

PSNI has been a key strategy. We have travelled with PSNI to Philadelphia, Barcelona, and other cities where it holds conventions. We do networking and promote our companies, and we standardize how we want to do things globally.
How do you choose which products to incorporate in your portfolio?
That is another thing that we have had to change. In the past, we were selling our preferred brands that give us greater margins and are well recognized. However, we are no longer doing that because of the amount of competitors and the Chinese sales model. Now, we go to a company and ask if there is a particular brand they would like. If they have always worked with Samsung, for example, and are comfortable with it, then we sell them Samsung products. If customers prefer a particular brand that is difficult to bring into Mexico, we can handle that and import the items, though they will have to wait a little longer. We like to advise our customers, and when they begin trusting us, we are able to advise on the preferred brands that do not fail. We will be servicing what we install, so we do not want to promote a product that fails.

What will be your main priorities for the next two years?

We want to continue to focus on global projects and get to the people who make the decisions. If we want to do the videoconferencing rooms for Ford Motor Company or Mercado Libre, we have to go to the US or to Argentina to find the person making the decisions. The main challenge right now remains our sales strategy and continuing to communicate digitally by doing home offices through unified communications.

What is your suggestion as the next step in video conferencing?

You have to think about how many people will be behind that call. For example, for six people you want a camera that provides the best angles and can track the person who is speaking and zooms in and out. The same applies to the microphone; you want an audio processor that recognizes voices and tracks them as well. The entire system includes the camera, audio system, and the touch panel. If the users want to interact and draw something, you might need a touch wall or touch panel. These are only the basics, as there are many other things that you can put into a room, including speakers.