With the leaps and bounds being made in the AV world, the desire for wireless integration of AV devices is one which was addressed during InfoComm in June. AV over IP discussion took place with presentation of products from companies such as AMX, Crestron, and Atlona, but they were just the honorable mentions and a sea of next generation solutions which were brought to light.
The flexibility of networked AV systems are increasing their popularity over the traditional point to point configurations. Control rooms, conference centers, and large educational facilities all have platform examples which would argue favorably to the transition, as each one has a large array of AV equipment and the desire to achieve connectivity without the extra wiring and maintenance.
However, with an area with a degree of hype which exceeds expectation, we must take a closer look to find out how far along we are to completing the transition. Installation spoke out to a number of vendors, discovering the process which requires much more work to ensure the comfort and confidence customers need to make the transition from one to the other.
As with most innovations, there are two sides to the argument. Progressive individuals are always looking for the next big thing. They prefer to have the newest technologies to help offer unique solutions and stay one step ahead of the competition. Conservative areas in the market, however, resist new technology, such as AV over IP, until it has a chance to prove its effectiveness and has been on the market for some time. This is the fundamental split in the market, showing the areas of difficulty where difficulty lies.
This market is rapidly growing and progressing, but what is driving these changes? The ability of IP based designs to assist flexibility in terms of routing video and scalability with regard to system expansion and enhancement, the IP switches have been a vital enabler. Also sharing credit is the improved network bandwidth and more advanced compression technologies, but the obvious benefits remain the headliner for the transition. To be able to easily and cost effectively scale infrastructure with business growth, particularly for large projects where installs would be complex, IP makes it easy for a scale to increase over large sites.
Any market with a medium to large multi-source to multi-screen commercial application benefit from the ability to add screens and sources as required while removing the need for a fixed matrix solution, leading to a long term savings in cost on projects. This cost savings is even higher when adding in the reduced time and hardware required to install.