John Dixon is Christie’s senior product manager for LCD, leading the development of both tiled and discrete displays. John gives us a look into his background, day-to-day work, and a peek into his personal life (hint: he really, really, likes food!).
You’ve been in AV for 20 years. What made you decide to get into Pro AV from university?
When I was student at my university, I had a job in the AV department. I was one of those AV geeks who would wheel projectors around campus and set them up for different classes, and I ran the scoreboard and computer system for sporting events. That created an interest in – and knowledge – about AV equipment.
Can you talk a little about your first role, with Clarity Visual Systems?
I got out of college with a business degree, focused on information systems, and as I was trying to find a job, one popped up with Clarity Systems. They were a rear-projection cube manufacturer. It was a good fit because I was on a solutions team that required both technical knowledge and was customer facing, which was a great opportunity to combine my experience, education, and interest.
How did you get into direct view technology?
I held a variety of sales and marketing roles, as well as in engineering working on many different types of display technologies in my previous role. Clarity expanded its display portfolio into “large” format LCD and we were one of the first manufactures to commercialize a 40-inch LCD display. This was way before TVs were that size and the dominant technology.
And from there the business grew, and through an acquisition, moved to Planar. During my tenure there I was involved in product management developing LCD products and video wall platforms.
I have a huge passion for the Pro-AV industry, display technology, and the applications for the technology. Our customers who buy and use commercial displays are really educated about the technology and understand what features and capabilities really matter. I am always in awe when I hear about the variety and importance of applications that deploy our displays.
What made you decide to come to Christie?
Christie was investing in the direct view display business, and there was an opportunity to grow the LCD display side. That was a huge interest of mine, to step into a different role with new challenges. I wanted to help grow the business with Christie.
Christie is an innovator in our industry and I have always appreciated the capability of the marketing team. It was a great opportunity to be a part of the company.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day usually starts with early morning calls, to connect with the team in Kitchener or Europe. Then I try to fit in a workout while the east coast is having lunch. Then I get back into it – in product management, you wear a lot of hats and it’s a balance to keep things afloat. The day to day business, supporting sales, developing new products and carving out time to focus on new products and trends. And then there’s usually calls with Asia at night to discuss projects.
Are there any products you’re particularly proud of?
There are a couple – the 65-inch Ultra Series tiled LCD display and the 2 new 98-inch Access and Secure Series display. And now the launch of Access II Series.
For customers considering LCD panels, whether it’s discreet or tiled, what should they be aware of?
While LED video walls are no doubt an emerging technology in our markets, there remains a great amount of opportunity for tiled LCD displays, despite being on the market for over ten years. The technology, like our new Extreme Series FHD554 models, is the best performing video wall to date. The bezel is the smallest that it has been, the visual performance keeps getting better, features are being enhanced, and the cost to deploy them continues to trend downwards! Its fuel to the fire in this category, and I think it will continue to do quite well for a number of years. For customers considering LCD technology, now is the time to jump. It’s a good fit in terms of delivering the performance and price customers want and need.
With discrete LCD displays, there are a lot of things changing behind the scenes. In the coming years, we’re likely to see a shake-up in the core LCD glass manufacturers. Some are starting to exit the business now, so that technology is changing dramatically. And more competition is coming into the market, which will improve prices. I think that will mean more people will buy discrete LCD displays, which will in turn fuel more applications.
As direct display technology and the industry changes, customers can count on Christie to be there and stand behind our products, providing not only the displays, but the solutions to meet our customer’s requirements.