In The Shadow Of IT

Like lava pushing up from under a volcano, the accelerating development of voice/data, audio/video (AV), lighting, security, computing and related fields presage more eruptions of convergence in the AV/IT landscape. Whether you are involved in system design, integration, services or manufacturing, you’ll want to navigate this active environment with agility.

The ongoing transition from conventional AV to IT-based systems has led to significant changes in our business. Multinational companies and other large enterprise customers, for example, are increasingly purchasing factory direct and employing internal resources for systems integration. On the supply side, equipment manufacturers and dealers are acquiring systems integration (SI) firms or setting up internal groups to deliver turnkey systems for clients. In a similar vein, large SI firms continue to expand by offering new services.

The good news is the rapid adoption of new AV technologies (e.g., advanced codec for streaming video) that coexist well with other systems on the network. These tools, along with ubiquitous mobile devices, have fed an eruption in demand for video across all channels, from almost every vertical market. Equally exciting are technologies that make the work of integrators and designers quicker and easier, while at the same time delivering more powerful systems to cost-concerned clients. Think IP control, custom apps, HDMI extenders, ZigBee, HDBaseT and POE+. The recent surge of IP and cloud-based AV solutions should also push us to rethink how our expertise in content acquisition, production, distribution and analytics can add value to our clients’ solutions.

The growing demand for 4K video, streaming and wireless connectivity is also opening up new opportunities. The tools for capture, processing, distribution and display of 4K video are already used in high-end corporate meeting rooms and on premium digital signage screens, and are now flowing down into mainstream applications at a rapid pace. With improved quality, latency, cost and management, live HD streaming is widely used in sports, staging and houses of worship. Similarly, 4G/5G cellular technology is now facilitating video delivery from cameras for remote production, as well as enabling integration of mobile devices into digital signage.

Disruptive technologies sometimes act like volcanic eruptions, forcing rapid adjustments in the way we live and do business. But, just as lava and ash create the most fertile ground for new crops, these changes can also lead to amazing new business opportunities and growth.

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