It’s the digital age, and it seems like everyone is online…on “the network.” Since it’s become the norm, many of us forget what attracted us to it in the first place. What we love about the network is its ability to connect…connect people, connect devices, connect information, and connect all of our systems. More conveniently, it allows us to connect from anywhere.
This move to the network has not left AV systems untouched. Now we also expect to view whatever we want, from any device, from anywhere. It was once a luxury, but has recently transitioned into being the norm; it’s what people expect. Yet, even as we transition to the network, we still expect our IT team to manage, monitor, and maintain everything we need seamlessly — including AV.
In the past, there were 3 entirely different systems: the IT network, the AV control, and the AV switching system. But as we all switched to the network (online), the AV control system moved to the IT Network (for many companies). The master AV controller is able to connect to the network through DHCP. Meanwhile, the automation system controls the switching system. All of this can be managed by a server on the IT Network side, and all devices can be connected through IP addresses.
But is AV/IT integration really this simple? Or has the collision of these two worlds created some complications and challenges?
Many companies’ AV departments and systems have essentially turned into IT. However, some companies’ IT departments will not allow AV systems to be on their network, due to security risks and network complications. These separate AV and IT teams are prevalent in healthcare and education organizations.
The argument of separation versus the consolidation of AV and IT will continue to be debated in the near future. However, this debate may not last long, as the largest barrier to AV/IT integration are security and network issues; which are being acknowledged and looked at. And based on our previous levels of innovation in the industry, we can assume that this will not remain an issue for too long.
This year Europe’s, ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) conference discussed the topic of AV integration and its future. You can watch this video for a review of the conference. It is evident that this community understands what dilemmas need to be addressed, what solutions they need to find, and most importantly that education on this topic is paramount. Once solutions are discovered, education and training will be vital to the success of the future of AV.