The Shifting Sands of IT Convergence

By Kirsten Nelson On January 14, 2013

For those who see piles of snow undulating across the horizon at this very moment, the thought of a beach probably carries with it the notion of warm sand and brilliant sunlight. But to year-round residents in the coastal communities of Northern climes, life on the beach is less about escape and more about evolving with the storms that buffet the coastline.

The U.S. Geological Survey has not let this record-breaking storm pass without gathering as much data as possible about the natural effects on beaches, and in particular, those shores of the barrier islands that protect New York and New Jersey from the brunt of many weather systems.

Even if barrier islands are seen as lovely vacation spots, they are also a stunning example of how the ocean and its shorelines incorporate change and rebuild without human intervention. The shape of New York’s Fire Island was greatly affected by the hurricane, with dunes sheared into cliffs and breaches torn between dunes to send water rushing from bay to ocean. But by December, The New York Times reported that some of the breaches were appearing to heal themselves. Sand bars that appeared during the storm were already being submerged and reallocated to shorelines. “Barrier islands are dynamic places,” the article asserted. “Regardless of what people do, the island will continue to reshape itself.”

As a storm, Sandy had a very real affect on many AV businesses. But as a metaphor, the hurricane and its aftermath might remind people of the shifting weather patterns of our way of doing business.

For more than a decade, prognosticators have pointed to an IT convergence that would change AV forever. The shift has been gradual thus far, pushing many companies into new niches that either specialize in the new digital reality or focus on the analog specialties that will never go away.

In order to present a very real look at just how the forces of IT will affect AV, we are launching a new quarterly column this month. We’ll be asking real-world questions about the short-term and long-term effects of convergence in a dialogue between AV and IT presented by John Stiernberg and Bill Murphy. Hopefully our ongoing coverage will be a lighthouse in the harbor when the giant storm of IT reaches the barrier island of AV. The shape of the landscape may change drastically, but then the sands will resettle in a new configuration that can sustain our industry.

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