Skip to main content

Not All Digital AV Needs to be On the Network

Not All Digital AV Needs to be On the Network

Don’t miss a social beat – follow #MyInfoComm2018 and make sure you visit Crestron located in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at booth C2562.

The confluence of a new mobile workforce and higher real estate costs have pushed facilities managers to create more efficient use of their existing space. This trend also has forced the creation of smaller meeting spaces. The U.S. Workplace Survey conducted by Gensler Research in 2016 stated, “Innovators spend less time at their desks, instead collaborating and socializing from conference rooms, open meeting areas, and café spaces.”

As the networked AV universe continues to expand, the rush to put all digital AV equipment and devices on the network may overshoot what is practical or fiscally responsible for every application. Cost-effective, point-to-point, all-in-one, and standalone solutions are filling the need for small collaboration spaces and huddle rooms.

Traditionally, the AV industry has been focused on high-end conference and meeting rooms with multiple laptop connections at the table, a control panel, a video conferencing codec, a matrix switcher, table microphones, and a speaker. “In the most basic rooms, you might just have a laptop and want to plug it in and get an image on-screen,” says Daniel Jackson, director of Enterprise Technology at Crestron. “There's a lot of growth with these low-cost, simple systems that provide a needed solution.”

Crestron and other control companies are seizing an opportunity once only filled by traditional conferencing manufacturers, by offering stand-alone products that don’t require proprietary AV control systems. This tactic might appear risky when most companies want to ensure ownership of the whole AV ecosystem. It took Porsche almost two decades of watching its customer-base purchase SUVs from Land Rover before offering the Cayenne.

Jackson says that most people tend to think of Crestron as big, complex, and costly. “People don't realize that we have these cost-effective, easy to install, just plug it in, and away you go solutions.”

Flexible and Scalable

For an organization that chooses to install standalone solutions—whether for presentations, digital media switchers, or signal routers—it is essential that the products are “hybrid,” with the capability of connecting to a network when you’re ready.

Although huddle and small collaboration spaces don’t intrinsically need to be connected to a network to make them easy to use, these spaces can benefit from integration with room scheduling software to maximize room usage and employee time. Depending on the vendor, room scheduling can be added as a standalone system.

As you move further into an AV ecosystem, there is greater flexibility and scalability with the ability to deploy hundreds of rooms at a time.

Single Source Benefit

Although always challenging, three years ago, managing multiple vendors with multiple products didn’t have as much of an impact as it does today. The alphabet soup of vendors with networked AV products is of paramount concern for internal information security groups that demand any product be tested before going on the network.

“We’ve seen a ton of demand for consolidation of vendors because when you scale up, people aren't looking to be a product manager or project manager,” says Alex Peras, Product Manager of DigitalMedia at Crestron. “They just want to put something in and have it work, and if it doesn't work, they can go back to one person. What we are trying to do is give people the ability to stick with one vendor to solve all of their digital media needs.”

Exhibitors at InfoComm 2018 will likely position their AV product to be the ideal single platform solution. The question is, will the manufacturer make deployment, management, security and reporting easier?

Be on the lookout for the third of six installments of the InfoComm18 Networked AV Series where Jackson and Peras discuss, “4K Networked Video Image Quality and the Latency Discussion.” There’s more to the story than the spec sheet shows.

InfoComm18 Networked AV Series

One of Six: Networked AV — More Than a Disrupter

Cindy Davis
Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis is the brand and content director of AV Technology. Davis enjoys exploring the ethos of experiential spaces as well as diving deep into the complex topics that shape the AV/IT industry. In 2012, the TechDecisions brand of content sites she developed for EH Publishing was named one of “10 Great Business Media Websites” by B2B Media Business magazine. For more than 20 years, Davis has developed and delivered multiplatform content for AV/IT B2B and consumer electronics B2C publications, associations, and companies. From 2000 to 2008, Davis was the publisher and editor-in-chief of Electronic House. From 2009 to present, as the principal of CustomMedia.Co, Davis developed content plans and delivered content for associations such as IEEE Standards Association and AVIXA, content marketing for Future Plc, and numerous AV/IT companies. Davis was a critical member of the AVT editorial team when the title won the “Best Media Brand” laurel in the 2018 SIIA Jesse H. Neal Awards. A lifelong New Englander, Davis makes time for coastal hikes with her husband, Gary, and their Vizsla rescue, Dixie, sailing on one of Gloucester’s great schooners, and sampling local IPAs.