AV and IT: Sharing the Stage

AV and IT: Sharing the Stage

The music fell faint; I inched forward in my seat and strained to discern the source of the melody. Then, with a brandish of his baton, the conductor wrenched the orchestra up from the sonic abyss and set it aloft in resplendent fortissimo. Storming onward to the rousing finale, a sea of bow tips billowed feverishly in time with the conductor’s bobbing coattails.

I recently spent an evening at Lincoln Center for a New York Philharmonic performance of works of Elgar and Tchaikovsky. As a devotee of classical music and a former orchestral musician (my first instrument was the cello), there are few things I find more beautiful to behold than a hundred musicians locked in perfect synchronization, each playing a small part in the unfurling of a symphony. But such coordination wasn’t always possible.

From Pythagoras’ discovery of musical intervals in the sixth century BC to the creation of early forms of modern notation by monks in the Middle Ages, musicians and composers had sought out ways of better recording their ideas and communicating them with others. Ultimately standardized in the Baroque period with the help of the printing press, the system of staff notation that has come to be employed all around the world is truly a wonder of human communication.

The technological landscape of today’s enterprise is increasingly shifting into a kind of concert hall where multiple players must share the stage. But here’s the problem: while the IT ensemble has a tightly defined system of sheet music, the AV section has many different ways of transcribing its notes, and they don’t always mesh neatly. We have to get by the best we can.

At AV Technology, we strive to facilitate better collaboration between the performers of information technology and audio-video. Last issue, as in many others, we provided a selection of material to help those in traditional AV circles continue their process of familiarization with the concepts of networking. In this edition, we take the opposite approach, offering IT managers insight into the current state of networked AV and its many unique attributes.

As pointed out in the July/August guide, AV Essentials for IT Managers, the benefits to bringing AV onto the network extend beyond the merits of performance, scalability, and cost effectiveness. As “operational technology,” many of today’s AV devices double as vital sources of data and analytics for business intelligence platforms. Simply put, organizations are better off when AV and IT play together.

But, we’re still very early on in this collaboration, and it’s going to take some time. Both sides just need to keep up their discourse, learn as much as they can about the other, and maintain a creative spirit. Then, one day, CIOs and CTOs will be able to conduct their AV and IT departments from a unified musical score, and it will be a thing of beauty.

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.