As we begin 2023, some of the challenges created in 2020 seem like a distant memory, with many having adapted to working and living during a pandemic. A greater need for networked AV/IT endpoints, appliances, and systems continues.
While in recovery mode, the chip and part shortage got manufacturers, integrators, and AV/IT managers thinking outside the box—sometimes quite literally. Although software-defined AV had been discussed and solutions presented well before 2020, there’s hardly a product engineer, technology consultant, or CTO who isn’t now taking a much harder look at the overall ecosystem.
The barriers to entry for the full adoption of networked AV haven’t gone away and likely won’t for the foreseeable future. Interoperability and security issues remain high on the list for most IT departments. Let’s face it, IT folks like standards and want anything touching the network—even on its own VLAN—to be secure and to continuously work.
[ 31 AVoIP and Networked AV Products that Set the Standard (opens in new tab) ]
The AV industry has been diligently working towards creating standards and protocols. With AES67 being the most widely known standard for audio over IP and the Dante protocol being used in more than 3,000 products, interoperability between those like-minded devices is ensured.
“Realizing the benefits of AVoIP requires organizations to have a firm grasp of their network’s topology and configuration,” said Peter Herr, director of Global Integrated Systems Marketing at Shure (opens in new tab). “Especially at smaller and mid-size organizations, the time and expertise required to optimize the network to run AV alongside other enterprise applications efficiently and securely places an added burden on IT departments who are responsible for managing the network.”
Ken Eagle, vice president of Technology at Hall Technologies (opens in new tab), added, “In nearly all cases, the existing AV solutions can be configured to work with the IP network. This will involve adding some type of encoder and decoder to provide the bridge between AV and IP solutions, so tech managers should be investigating and testing these kinds of solutions.”
Making an argument for investing in new technologies can be a challenge. Taft Stricklin, sales team manager at Just Add Power (opens in new tab), suggested, “AV/IT managers can future-proof their AV-over-IP system with agile and modular components. Modularity delivers the capacity for growth and can benefit organizations.”
AV over IP is here to stay and for a good reason, added John Henkel, director of SMB Product Marketing at NETGEAR (opens in new tab). “So, finding ways to take away the complexity surrounding its technology is essential,” he said. “And while revamping your IT network infrastructure to fit AV needs may seem like a costly expenditure, it doesn’t have to be. AV/IT managers should look for products that tailor specifically to AV for all kinds of budgets while offering the same enterprise-level functionality and security.”
And if you had to hedge your bets, Paul Harris, CEO at Aurora Multimedia (opens in new tab), offered this definitive statement: “Cable is the key to everything. Equipment comes and goes, but cable is the costliest for labor as it is buried in walls, ceilings, and floors. It is the most worthwhile investment and can stay around for decades if chosen correctly.”
AV Technology's Thought Leader Series on AVoX
Check out what these industry thought leaders have to say about the state of networked AV.
Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) (opens in new tab)
Audinate (opens in new tab)
Aurora (opens in new tab)
C2G (opens in new tab)
Datapath (opens in new tab)
Hall Technologies (opens in new tab)
HDBaseT Alliance (opens in new tab)
NETGEAR (opens in new tab)
SDVoE Alliance (opens in new tab)
Shure (opens in new tab)
Sony (opens in new tab)
VuWall (opens in new tab)
Yamaha Unified Communications (opens in new tab)
(More will be posted in the coming days)