Technology is constantly evolving, integrating areas of our lives never before thought possible. It was not so long ago the internet had not yet connected people. Now, the Internet of Things (IoT) is making possible the connecting of systems in a seamless way—with big benefits. Has AV-IT convergence finally found a reliable integration method? The IoT, the term that defines objects (such as electronics) outfitted with networking and data transmission between other “things,” is definitely bringing it closer.
AV-IT convergence is when three systems are merged into one: audio and video combined with control and data to be exact. Before convergence, each had their own hardware, software, and infrastructures. As a result of the merge, common hardware and equipment has been implemented companies, and it can then focus on system-based IT management and controls. Managing one system instead of many means the same wiring being used for AV-IT, as well as for the network. As a result of convergence, not only are companies able to realize significant cost reductions, as an added bonus, employees are happier (and more productive) because that means less work for them. A win-win situation for all.
Susan Lucci is an Engineering Manager at Advanced AV. Headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Advanced AV has evolved with the advancement of technology into a specialized integrator of professional audiovisual systems for business, education, government, and worship facilities, serving the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Advanced AV and its sister companies, Advanced Staging Productions rental and MC3 creative services.
How it is Being Done
Unified Communications Services take advantage of the flexibility convergence offers by keeping all devices managed under one umbrella. Video conferencing is becoming increasingly popular and often tops the list of UC solutions customers seek. When the network can seamlessly operate and all hardware can communicate, it means less of instances of delays or service interruptions, both of which are a major concern for businesses. This is especially important for customers who are doing most of their business in the cloud.
The Converged Environment
Conference rooms outfitted with AV equipment can now be remotely monitored and things like managing digital media and transmitting multiple formats of video no longer require outside support. Employees working off-site can participate in the network, taking full advantage of services and be seamlessly supported. Even better, customers on site enjoy the benefits of convergence when the IoT allows their own mobile devices to connect with a brand on premises with mobile apps that encourage interaction.
Taking Advantage of the Benefits
With great technology comes great software. The best management software will be user friendly and give network administrators and technicians better control across the board. For companies just beginning this journey, a clearly mapped integration plan should take into account that not all devices will be ready for convergence and see this as a positive instead of a negative. Once devices are ready to merge, the one-stop management that will be at their fingertips will be worth the initial hassle. Current AV engineers now paired with the best of the IT world make for a strong support team.
Devices are now made to interact with each other, and this should be something that businesses strive to take full advantage of. The cost savings of AV-IT integration alone should spike interest and businesses taking advantage of new technology like video conferencing in the cloud should especially pay attention to the benefits convergence has to offer. Once all your audio video needs are integrated with the IT component your company will see improvements in productivity and see a reduction in annoyances of the past. Where are you on this path to convergence? Have you started taking steps in that direction, or are you thinking about doing so? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.