I have been in and around AV and IT technology going on 25 years now, beginning with my days in computer and AV rentals in New York around such technologies as IBM XT and AT PC’s, Compaq laptops, Mac Classics, CRT 3-gun projectors, Proxima and nView LCD overhead projector plates and more. Now, with the greatest of technology advancements all around us, I have to say we are truly at the collision point where when we discuss AV and IT after over 10 years of trying to force them together with a slash mark, it’s truly apparent that no one is sure when, if, or why it’s happened – if it even has. Confused? I’d actually like to find someone in all of the audio visual industry who isn’t at this point. Some do admit to knowing that it has happened and I say OK, then I would like the true evidence presented, otherwise IT certainly isn’t concerned as they don’t worry about AV. They leave that all to the experts – the AV professionals… right?
Why do we as an industry truly concern ourselves with another industry and how in essence to fit square pegs into round holes as we’ve been trying to do for a long time with that slash. In fact the slash which for the longest time went after the AV now comes before it with IT to the left. Why? Did IT just zoom ahead of the AV industry subsuming it along the way? The AV industry as it’s been known is certainly complementary to technologies in terms of cloud, software, mobility (BYOD), security, IoT, and more. Shall we start putting slashes between AV and all of these? Right – enough already.
Two things that have long been industry identifiers, before discussing the technologies, are education as well as certification. We as an industry rely on ongoing education from InfoComm along with numerous other entities, as well as the specific certifications, the InfoComm Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) being the main with its identity further bolstered by the recent provision of digital badges.* Dual certification holders (or dual-certs as insiders know them) are those who have achieved at high level in representation of the industry by acquiring both the CTS-D (Design) and CTS-I (Installation).
Is this to say that all involved on this side of the business need to become dual CTS-D and CTS-I certification holders? Of course not, however in conversations with Jeremy I learned that he became a dual-cert to be able to work closely with the installers in the company he was with at the time by holding the same accreditation as they would be as well. Was this showing a true team effort in holding both certifications? What are the reasons other dual certification holders go for both? Jeremy’s blog Passing the Torch is a great read, I recommend it highly for anyone in the industry to find out more, including what he has achieved in terms of bringing AV design to the higher education level – along with becoming the InfoComm 2016 Educator of the Year.
We rely on the manufacturers and their R&D prowess in terms of the advancement of the industry. As with any technology realm, if we just keep on seeing the same old technology every year, how can anyone expect an industry to advance? Blame it all you want on others, but if we go to ISE, InfoComm, Integrate and other shows around the globe and see more of the same, all the support as well as certifications in the world won’t be worth more than – “the box.” This year at InfoComm 2016, I did my third Top 10 at the show and every year I find what I consider highly innovative solutions, however each year it has evolved to become more of a concept rather than just finding products or solutions that potentially disrupt an industry.
I was very impressed with numerous companies and how they have the great potential to disrupt the industry, InFocus is one in terms of what they have achieved with a well-built collaboration environment. As where others may introduce and fully focus on one or two new solutions, what they have accomplished has been in melding an environment of development along with the acquisition of Jupiter Systems in late 2015 – who just happened to be my InfoComm 2015 top pick with Canvas 3.0. Here is Canvas collaborative visualization today. Yes, InFocus has been known for projectors as well as the Mondopad for quite some time (and now the Mondopad Ultra), however if you visited with them at the show, you were taken through a booth (as I was) that was wall to wall collaborative “possibilities” for the end user. I say possibilities in that way, as it’s up to the integrator to potentially position the collaborative environment as I keyed on in my Top 10 approach. Others included Oblong Industries with Mezzanine “Infopresence” (my #1), Biamp with TesiraLUX and Logitech Video Collaboration where I highlighted their LC Partnership Program. Stewart Filmscreen was also included for disruptive messaging.
IT here? Yes. AV? Yes again. However, if we talk about the network, mobility, devices – all which exists in the IT industry – it doesn’t necessarily mean that the /IT becomes a necessary part of the equation here. When we talk about cloud, this discussion exists in IoT as much as in IT and with that, that slash just becomes a bothersome keystroke, for the media that is. If you actually say AV-slash-IT, you can safely replace it with an “and” or just nothing at all. AV can indeed be a self-contained environment of numerous technologies as we see every year at the industry’s worldwide trade shows, or it can simply be a showing of displays as well as projectors and screens, just like in the good old days of the Projection Shootout – which no one wants to consider anymore (although bringing back the Shootout would be something).
As for the integration community, the challenges they face are real, and they must rely on the manufacturers for knowledege-base and support. I should know, I was a part of that community for almost 15 years in integration sales. Integrators need to pivot and adapt to provide the latest technologies – cloud, software and more that provide the customer the tools they need to advance and compete in their own markets. When attending that event or trade show, go with your customer’s needs in mind, in fact I always liked to ask my customers if there was anything in particular they wanted me to get information on to bring back to them. Now, with the technology solutions that are available, those possibilities are literally endless.
It’s not just AV, or IT in terminology- it’s about the technology and what the industry provides now and onward in terms of research, development and achievement.
* Listen to this InfoComm Today Podcast: Badges of Honor