Technology continues to revolutionize how businesses operate, and one of the significant changes is the convergence of Audiovisual (AV) and Information Technology (IT) systems. Rather than remaining separate entities, AV and IT are increasingly working together to solve business problems, and they’re becoming a converged solution instead of islands at war.
The merging of AV and IT is a natural progression as businesses strive to create a more streamlined and efficient operation. Previously, AV and IT were considered separate entities, and each department had its own skills, knowledge, and expertise. However, as technology advances, there is more overlap and collaboration between these two domains.
One of the core reasons for this convergence is the increasing prevalence of video and audio content in business. The hybrid work model allowing remote employees to connect to corporate offices through collaboration solutions is an obvious driving factor of this content demand. Miro, Google, Cisco Webex, Zoom, and even Microsoft are huge players promoting these solutions.
But it’s not just the collaboration vertical driving this convergence. Essential factors include digital signage, remote broadcasting, live streaming, augmented reality, and many other solutions.
Less apparent areas where AV and IT are coming together are in the realm of data analytics. Businesses use AV technology to capture data from various sources, including cameras, microphones, and other sensors. This data is analyzed using IT systems to provide valuable insights into customer behavior, product performance, and more. This is a core differentiator for companies like Cisco, who have remodeled New York and Atlanta offices to showcase these capabilities.
Another vertical that is a driving force in the AV and IT convergence is houses of worship. We’ve already seen established technologies such as Audinate Dante become commonplace for routing high-quality, low-latency audio over standard IP networks. Having the ability to use existing network infrastructure to transmit audio drastically simplifies the entire audio integration process.
Similarly, for video, NewTek has brought NDI to market. NDI is a video-over-IP solution that enables high-quality, low-latency video transmission over standard IP networks. As such, video devices are network connected and recognized by other devices on that network. No longer just simple control protocols, but high-quality video over IP as well. Once again, leveraging existing network infrastructure to transmit video drastically simplifies the AV side of integrations.
The simplification and cost reduction on the AV side of integration is fantastic, but what does this mean for IT? The convergence of AV and IT means businesses must approach their IT infrastructure differently. Previously, AV and IT systems were managed separately, with different departments responsible for each area. As these systems become more intertwined, it’s becoming increasingly crucial for businesses to have a unified approach to managing their IT infrastructure. Future planning for IT networks must include allowances for AV solutions as a large part of their traffic.
One of the challenges that businesses face when merging AV and IT systems is ensuring compatibility between different technologies. For example, a video conferencing system may only work seamlessly with a company’s IT infrastructure if it’s designed to do so. Network security, data protection, latency, and bandwidth considerations are just the beginning. The same goes for routing Dante audio and NDI video across the IT network.
To overcome these challenges, businesses need to work with vendors and service providers with AV and IT expertise. These are no longer islands, so bridges are not the answer. A core foundation and an understanding of both fields functioning as a single solution are required.
The convergence of AV and IT is an exciting development transforming how businesses operate. By combining these two areas, companies can create more efficient operations, provide better customer experiences, and gain valuable insights from data. As technology continues to evolve, we expect to see even more innovation in this space as businesses find new and exciting ways to use AV and IT technologies together.