Redefining AV/IT Convergence & Clarifying Standards

Redefining AV/IT Convergence & Clarifying Standards

Q&A with Jesse Anderson, CTS-D, Audio-Visual Services Director, Information Technology Services at College of the Holy Cross. (Erstwhile Chair, InfoComm Technology Managers Council)

AV Technology: Why do you attend InfoComm shows?

Jesse Anderson: I manage the AV group within Information Technology Services at the College of the Holy Cross. With four full-time staff and a number of student employees, my group has primary responsibility for the academic technology in about 120 classrooms, seminar rooms, teaching labs and studios. We also provide support for installation and maintenance of AV systems throughout the campus, including Athletics and Conference Services.

In addition to the educational offerings, the InfoComm show gives me an opportunity to network with my peers at other institutions—we are all facing the same challenges, and learning from others fits in well with my institution's traditions.

  • The best thing, however, is the show floor. There is no better opportunity to "kick the tires" on new products. The talks I've had with vendors' engineering staff have solved many problems for us.

Jesse Anderson, CTS-D

AVT: Your InfoComm15 show floor mission?

Anderson: During the past few years, we've been going through a paradigm-shift on our control systems. For years, the goal was "easy," but in the past year or so we've started designing for "familiar." With devices better able to exchange information, we think the next step might be "transparent," but this remains to be seen.

We're also really intrigued by the potential of software-scale AV and AV as a Service. One example of this is video playback: most of our students just use their laptops or phones, so how much longer will we need disk players in our classrooms?AVT: Trends or intrigue from last year’s InfoComm?Anderson: The biggest new trend last year was increased support for mobile and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This is certainly a consumer trend, and we're being asked to provide the same services in our classrooms. The issue we keep running into is that video from most tablets and phones isn't designed to work well on a corporate network, and users don't want to attach a dongle or install software that won't work with all of their apps.There were a number of products that were designed to be controlled via a web browser or an app on a phone or tablet. This is old hat for things like security cameras, but I was intrigued by its use on audio mixers. I used to dream of being able to control the mix from anywhere in the room...AVT: Trends you expect to see at InfoComm15?Anderson: Lampless projection has been around for a couple of years, but I think that this may be the year it takes off. Considering the increased usage of projectors at my site, it won't be a moment too soon.I'm also expecting to see more devices offering support in a "pro" environment; I don't know how, but I know that my users want them!AVT: AV/IT convergence at InfoComm?Anderson: We really need to realize that AV/IT convergence is, to a very large extent, something that has happened rather than is happening. At my site, we've had networked control and audio for years.As an industry, I think we need to be more aware of existing IT standards and look for ways to leverage them. I don't mean things like TCP/IP addressing and how you route packets, I'm thinking more of Service Level Agreements and Lifecycle Planning. AVT: Benefits from attending InfoComm?Anderson: There is no better opportunity to talk with technical staff and engineers from the manufacturers. Let them know what you are hoping and dreaming for in your installations—sometimes dreams will come true!AVT: Tips for first-timers attending InfoComm?Anderson: Make sure you leave enough time for the show floor! Every year I end up stumbling across one or two products that are exact fits for an installation we're planning, often in booths I had never planned on visiting.Make sure to download the mobile App; you can't really appreciate how large the show floor is until you have been there. The vendor search feature and map are invaluable.I always have a list of things I'm looking for, not just for my area of responsibility, but for other users at the College. I also keep a notebook handy—you'll think of things wandering around, and there is so much going on that you need to keep a list.Don't forget the demo rooms!

The staff of AV Technology serves the community of decision-makers comprising AV/IT technology managers and directors, instructional technologists, and anyone making or influencing AV/IT technology decisions within their respective facilities and institutions.