As the Internet of Things (IoT) drives the development of new technologies, devices and opportunities, and resets end-user expectations, it’s critical that AV professionals understand how this will change their business and evolve their solutions.
Convergence is an interesting concept. In communications technology, convergence has often been thought of as the coming together of AV and IT, but this is only a small part of the story. Traditionally, AV systems have been connected to the LAN as a method of implementing control and content transfer, but AV systems have also been somewhat isolated by their need to interface with legacy technologies and adapt to custom environments and user-defined needs. This may be changing as we come to see how closely IoT is embedded into the AV experience.
IoT, and the digitization of everything, is driving the realization that the future of AV is not AV over IP. No longer will systems be computer-, software- or app-driven, nor will they pull power from the same data and control connection. They now have the ability to reach toward complete integration and incorporate intelligent devices and sensors, allowing the AV world to be managed without human intervention.
Let’s set the scene with how IoT and AV can influence our everyday expectations. I’m sure we can all relate to the example of being a part of a meeting in a conference room, when suddenly there’s a glare on the display or projector screen and someone in the room has to get up to dim the lights or close the blinds.
With sensors and systems integration, AV systems can be set up to become both an input and an output data stream. It’s conceivable that we can migrate AV from a “Tell me what to do and I’ll do it” system to a “Hey, I see you’re doing something; let me enhance the environment for you,” type system. This is a dramatic shift. And this type of forward thinking comes from paying attention to user-experience expectations.