House Of Worship

Looking Back & Looking Forward

Looking back, 2014 was a good year for many integrators that work in the House of Worship (HOW) market. I witnessed impressive adoption and use of technologies in small, medium and large HOW facilities worldwide. Line array technologies, digital audio consoles and image magnification (IMAG) were the prominent technologies that worship leaders adopted for use in their primary worship auditorium.

Line arrays were the prominent choice among worship leaders for addressing sound reinforcement needs in worship auditoriums. Worship leaders like line arrays for a number of reasons. First, line array theory/technology really does provide credible sound reinforcement solutions. Line arrays have become cost effective and they are relatively easy to install and use. One thing is for sure: Line array systems kept many of us busy in 2014.

Digital audio consoles were also a very popular item that was adopted and used in HOWs in 2014. Numerous companies have developed affordable digital audio consoles that are actually very good. Most of these consoles can be controlled wirelessly using a Mac, an iPad or an iPhone (Android technology, for now, is nearly a no-show in the world of media). The wireless control feature enables live mix engineers to leave the confines of the sound booth and walk around the worship space to tweak the sound as needed.

The adoption of large video displays for use in primary and secondary worship spaces was very popular in 2014. Many of these displays were used for communicating information such as song lyrics, sermon notes and announcements generated by a computer (PC or Mac). Medium and large HOWs use the large video displays for IMAG.
We (humans) use body language to communicate more than 80% of the information we share with other people. We use nonverbal cues such as hand gestures and facial expressions. Body language is also the primary medium we use to measure the credibility of a person we are watching or listening to. In large venues, most of the body language is lost because the individuals on stage are far away. By using video cameras, we are able to close the distance between speaker and audience, and include the nonverbal communication.

In 2014, many of us were busy installing large video displays and video production equipment that enables a large amount of communication and information to be generated and consumed by congregations around the world.

I believe that 2015 will be a great year for our industry. The bulk of our business will continue to address the communication needs that are immanent in HOWs. Business will be conducted in both new and existing structures that will be renovated or repurposed. Many of these spaces will be built to accommodate children’s ministry, youth ministry, senior citizen ministry and social events, such as banquets and weddings. Many large HOWs are also constructing gathering spaces for sports (gymnasiums) and gaming areas where adults and/or teenagers can spend time with their peers. The majority of these new gathering locations, such as halls, rooms and gymnasiums, will be outfitted with sounds, lights and video displays.

I also believe that there are emerging ventures that will open up in 2015. One significant example is the expansion of private schools that are under the umbrella of a HOW. Many HOWs are pursuing excellent educational agendas. Part of their plans will be to build classrooms and auditoriums that are highly mediated and interactive.

In addition, I believe that much of the new construction will be “green” facilities that function with greater energy efficiency. They will also seek better acoustical spaces (I say, Hallelujah!). The better-tuned auditoriums will certainly be a huge bonus for acoustic engineers, integrators, installers and, most of all, congregants.

If I were to select one area that I believe will experience extensive growth in 2015, it would be venues and technologies that would enhance the security and the worship experience for children. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is rampant with craziness. HOWs are recognizing the need to protect the children in their care by installing easy-to-use, but effective, security systems that allow parents to “check in” their child for “children’s church” and feel confident that their child is safe while in that space. Along with the security for children, HOWs are investing significant money to mediate the worship space for children. They are driven by the desire to share their faith with children and to grow them to become lifelong congregants.

I believe that 2015 holds many opportunities for us to generate revenue while serving an important purpose. We have opportunities to introduce traditional and newer technologies to help worship leaders address their growing and increasingly complicated communication needs. That is what I believe, please tell me what you believe.

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