Real-Time Monitoring: A Closer Look

In 2018, health care solutions consultancy firm The Advisory Board Company will move into its new Washington, D.C. corporate headquarters occupying nearly 300,000 square feet. “We have plans to build out close to 200 collaboration spaces without much additional staff,” said Advisory Board’s director, Enterprise Technologies, Nyere Hollingsworth. “We will be designing these spaces [so] we can monitor and control them remotely, to facilitate our ability to deliver high quality service.”

Hollingsworth is paying keen attention to manufacturers producing products that communicate exclusively on an IP network. “The days of the dedicated media switch are quickly coming to an end, as the efficiencies of streaming media are becoming more of an attractive option and will ultimately allow us to scale and put AV technology in more places and satisfy use cases that haven’t even been thought of yet.”

Hollingsworth charged consultants to design the spaces to allow staff to get as close to zero-touch as feasible. “The only way to do this is if these devices live on the network and can be integrated into other IT systems that will allow more advanced workflows. Those manufacturers and products that are interoperable, [meaning] they communicate with other systems in a secure manner with standard IT systems and applications, are those that are the most attractive to me.

“Going forward, it is imperative that AV equipment be network addressable. It’s important to be able to proactively monitor all devices that make up an AV system so troubleshooting can be accomplished faster and across longer distances. At a minimum, the control systems need to be monitored on the network but ultimately every device in the system should have a mechanism whereby it can be identified on the network and monitored for uptime and availability.

“We are at an inflection point in the industry where legacy analog systems are just not able to meet the demands of the current workforce, because newer technology won’t be backward compatible. PCs are shipping without VGA interfaces, and the latest iPhones no longer have stereo mini audio jacks. For legacy systems that are dependent on these technologies, an upgrade plan should be developed [so] these systems are phased out of the environment within the next three years.”