The Universal Language

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Is there a universal language? As a musician, I like the notion that it's music, but throughout history, love, mathematics, and science have all been called the universal language.

In the worlds of AV and IT, we're faced with the challenge that technologies are converging more rapidly than the development of a universal language with which to communicate about them. Even today, terms like switch, appliance, systems integration, and network can all have different meanings depending on whether you're perspective is AV or IT. Yet it's clear that IT is a part of the AV world, and vice versa.

While it may seem an overstatement, AV can barely exist without IT - and again, vice versa. Want examples? Just look at some of the hottest AV/IT technologies - HD videoconferencing, digital signage, wireless, and fiber topics. All of these (and more) enable human communication, and the quality of the experience is dependent on both AV and IT. AV is responsible for the quality of image/sound capture and presentation. IT is primarily responsible for what happens between the endpoints, since in today's world, AV is essentially rich media "data" just like everything else on the network.

Two interrelated and simultaneous trends are accelerating the pace of convergence. One is the migration of AV systems to the network. The other is the increasing use of the network as a means of controlling, monitoring, and protecting those media, software, and hardware assets. A front runner for the role of "universal language" may be internet protocol (IP), since it's what allows all of these disparate devices, systems, and people from the "nations" of AV and IT to communicate. And IP is spoken across all vertical markets, platforms, and in every nation in the world.

With these challenges in mind, we present the premiere issue of AV Technology - a new media brand whose role is to provide a link between AV and IT. It's our mission to be the AV resource for technology managers and users, enabling them to become better, more informed customers and users of AV technology. In these pages, online, and at future events, we'll present AV and IT issues not as separate topics, but as the intersected opportunities that they are. All forms of human interaction have been affected by this intersection, whether it's business, education, government, or people sitting alone in a living room or home office. AV Technology will examine all of these opportunities, in all markets and applications that depend on AV/IT.

Even if IP is the universal language of convergence, the lack of a "literal" spoken universal language remains an impediment to the transition from the asymptotic lines of convergence to their ultimate intersection. Our machines may speak IP, but AV and IT people still need to learn each other's actual language and technologies. This is an underlying theme for AV Technology - to present what an AV or IT technology manager needs to know about both worlds. Out of this, perhaps we can progress toward the development of that ultimate common tongue, instead of the Tower of Babel.

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