Professional Sound - June 2017 - Page 38

INNOVATION TEGRATION The Present & Future of AV Contracting By Andrew King InfoComm 2017 is right around the corner, and as usual, the association representing the global commercial audiovisual in- dustry has announced a number of new show features that, even just a few years ago, might have seemed entirely out of place. Consider this year’s major focus on immersive technologies, including virtual and augmented realities, or the ever-increasing discussion of the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it applies to audiovisual systems. Each year, it seems the trends and technologies affecting the audiovisual integration industry have evolved more signifi- cantly and rapidly than the last, and that’s already shaping up to be the case for 2017. In light of this, we’ve rounded up a panel of leading Canadi- an AV integrators and consultants to identify some of those influ- ential technologies and trends and, more importantly, forecast what they could mean for the industry as a whole. PS: Whether it’s an entirely new technology or a new development for something longstanding, which tech- nological development of the past 1-2 years has had the greatest impact on your or your firm’s work of late? BERNATSKY: The low voltage industry as a whole continues to converge. At a high level, there are two driving forces behind this. Virtually any low voltage system, be it AV, security, commu- nication, sound, lighting control, building management, etc. is in most cases micro-processed and consequently software driv- en. The benefit is clear; clients can demand simplified single- user interface “dashboards” that manage and control multiple complex systems. The monumental challenge for integrators large and small is keeping current with these systems, as soft- ware-based technology can have multiple revisions within the span of a year. The other challenge is maintaining the required high-skilled and costly staff. BOOKER: Convergence of IT in AV. There are numerous tech- nologies that are now available via network infrastructure, both wired and wireless, which have had a huge impact on our company to research, study up, and become knowledgeable in IT network infrastructure and how AV systems can play nicely together. 38 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND MCCARTHY: The growth of the cloud video business for collab- oration and the shift from project-based revenue to service- based revenue. For example, we have a NOC that remotely monitors the health of our clients’ systems so that we can ser- vice the system proactively. Also, cloud-based control systems and the Microsoft Surface Hub. PUTHENKULAM: The cultural shifts in the way people work – when, where, and how – have had the greatest impact on the way we now design technology for meeting spaces. Col- laborative technology has had a great impact, as teams are required to collaborate beyond the confines of office walls and geographical borders. With the cost of infrastructure and bandwidth dropping considerably, this has truly enabled op- erational efficiencies and agility in bringing people together. From a technological standpoint, wireless presentation, BYOD, HDoIP, and soft codec adaptation for video collabora- tion are the newer age of technology we are required to inte- grate whilst designing meeting spaces. RUSHTON: The technological developments that have had the greatest impact on our work over the past few years for us would be, for audio, Dante and related peripherals such as microphones. For video, sub-2 mm image-to-image display bezels and direct view LED products. For controls, larger, more cost-effective PoE touch panels, and for software, soft codecs such as Skype for Business. WILLIAMS: We have seen a large increase in demand for 4K video distribution systems, with applicable content and dis- plays to necessitate the higher resolution. PS: Some of the key topics of discussion at InfoComm 2017 include immersive audio (including augmented and virtual reality) and the increasing incorporation of IoT into AV products and systems. Have either of these or any other recently emerging technological trends been influ- encing your operations, or do you think they may in the near future? BERGERON: We have been using immersive audio for quite some time now – at least 15 years – since we are specialists in