Far Away, Together

Squirming, shifting, adjusting the degree of recline, trying to make that neck pillow work. You check the time. Somehow, you were only asleep for 20 minutes, and there’s still a handful of hours to go. Oh, to be tossing and turning in bed—at least then you could stretch your legs. But somehow, you endure. And as a reward for your suffering, a new world is yours to explore.

Air travel is fantastic in enabling us to traverse the globe, but unless you have the means to fly first class, it can also double as a serious test of fortitude—especially for the long legged. So far, I’ve never been on a flight longer than nine hours; that will change in May, when I make my first transpacific journey to visit Japan and the Philippines. Can I withstand 16-plus hours of monotonous confinement? I’d like to think that even if I were stuck in the sky for a week, the excitement of the ensuing adventure would all but erase the memories of discomfort. But what if it were all just for a business meeting?

The AV industry shapes our lives in many ways, from entertainment to education, but one of the things it’s best at—especially in recent years—is bringing us all together, instantaneously. Video calling has gone from the exclusive domain of Fortune 500 boardrooms to a ubiquitous tool in everyone’s pocket. Whether it’s to check in with a client on another continent or to convene with coworkers across town, videoconferencing makes meetings more efficient, consistent, and comfortable. But this is just the beginning.

Where professional AV really shines today is the realm of collaboration and unified communications—elevating the virtual face-to-face conversation to a session of side-by-side teamwork. When a remote worker can sketch ideas on the wall of a distant meeting room, and parties in different time zones can review a contract together while making eye contact, the need for physical presence—and air travel—diminishes. Obviously, nothing digital can top the troth of a firm handshake after drinks and dinner—but for most other forms of business, technology can soundly suffice.

In AV Technology, we a look at the ways in which pro AV is making collaborative work easier, faster, and more productive. From examining the state of huddle spaces to sharing strategies for sprucing up soft-codec platforms, we take you through the latest tools and techniques for conducting better group work—whether the participants are brainstorming across a coffee table or conversing across an ocean. 

And perhaps one day, technology will enable air travel to be relegated solely to the business of the spirit—voyages whose destinations more than outweigh the red eyes of getting there.

Matt Pruznick

Matt Pruznick is the former editor of AV Technology, and senior editor for Systems Contractor News and Residential Systems. He is based in New York.