SYMCO NYC Panel: Q&A with Jeffrey Fairbanks, Bloomberg

SYMCO NYC Panel: Q&A with Jeffrey Fairbanks, Bloomberg
  • Convergence, what have you done for me lately?
  • A lot, evidently, but quantifying it is the hard part. And from what I hear on the AV streets, even with all this fancy new IP-based everything, those IT people are still a challenge to contend with on the client side.
  • So let’s get together and talk about it. Or “tawk” about it, in the local parlance, at the SYMCO Regional Technology Showcases in New York, NY on October 16. But first, let's catch up with one of the panelists who will be joining me on the User Panel Discussion in NYC.

Meet Jeffrey Fairbanks, Global Head of AV and Media Technology, Bloomberg:

Jeffrey Fairbanks

Some technologists are born, others are made. When did you know you were a tech-head?

When I was eight years old my parents gave me a Fisher Price tape player / recorder. After about two days of playing with it, I realized the importance of recorded sound and the power of communication. [I've] been in love ever since.

What was the most surprising u-turn or detour you've seen occur in the technology landscape so far in your career?

The introduction of WebRTC. I truly think that once it is ratified and fully baked, the inability to communicate across all proprietary platforms will be broken. Physical communication will no longer be the commodity — information alone will be the cash cow product.

What is most misunderstood about IT?

That data (i.e., information) equals knowledge. Information is knowing a baseball is heading toward your head, knowledge is knowing to move your head out of the way.

Why is FaceTime so much easier than videoconferencing? How do you explain that to users?

Say we both have walkie talkies on the same frequency — it's easy to communicate, right? That's what Facetime is. Two different devices on the exact same frequency, made by the same manufacturer using all self-contained hardware (e.g., camera and microphone), all
designed for one method of communication. [It is] one person looking directly at another person.

Video conferencing is trying to solve a much larger issue: bringing a video conference to many as well as the few. All on different hardware, using a multitude of different protocols. Video conferencing is trying to solve for multi-party calls, audio interoperability, content sharing, and white boarding. Facetime is just trying to show your face.

What's the most common request you get from your users?

"Make this easier."

Free association: What do you think of when you hear "AV"?

Kirsten Nelson is a freelance content producer who translates the expertise and passion of technologists into the vernacular of an audience curious about their creations. Nelson has written about audio and video technology in all its permutations for almost 20 years; she was the editor of SCN for 17 years. Her experience in the commercial AV and acoustics design and integration market has also led her to develop presentation programs and events for AVIXA and SCN, deliver keynote speeches, and moderate and participate in panel discussions. In addition to technology, she also writes about motorcycles—she is a MotoGP super fan.