AVIXA Trainer Patrick Murray (https://learnavprogramming.com) discusses the challenge of Integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) into AV Systems and whose responsibility it is. How can AV systems become a standard part of IoT?
Nowadays, as end users/consumers, we simple expect our devices to work straight out of the box and to connect to the wider 'Internet of Things' (IoT) at the click of a button or two - both in commercial applications as well as at home. Integrating business solutions in the work environment is a growing area of development.
The future of AV systems seamlessly integrating with the greater IoT growing exponentially as AV-over-IP technologies appear in more and more audio, visual and security systems and product groups.
In simple terms, IoT (or 'The Internet of Things') is built on the premise that in the not too distant future (or ar we already there?!) all things in the world - and we really are talking about all things! - will be connected to the internet and, therefore, to one another.
Though this may at first seem just a little bit sci-fi / George Orwell 1984 - the reality is that more and more technologies and devices now already connect to a LAN or WAN network, using IP connectivity to produce 'smart' devices, app controlled products and services. - all of which are designed to make our lives easier, quicker and more efficient (or to gather data about everyone of us at a terrifying rate - depending on our personal point of view of the subject!).
From the most obvious of IoT devices - our smart phones that never leave our sides! - to your TV, smartwatch, vehicles and even the fridge these days; to control of your heating, lighting and security. All of which are now probably the very best of friends with Alexa or Siri!
And, from the point of view of the professional AV industry, trends are moving in exactly the same direction as AV-over-IP becomes the preferred method of system integration for a new generation of AV designer/installer.
Recently, the likes of Amazon Alex released their latest platform - 'Alexa for Business' - developed to enable voice control of business tools and devices such as projectors, screens, lighting, AV Matrix ans switcher devices, etc. But rather than asking the question 'How will Alexa integrate with our pro AV devices?' the real question that needs to be asked is 'How will our devices integerate with Alexa?'.
Smart home devices are already an accepted every day part of our lives and for the latest generation of AV integrators, we simply expect things to work - no matter whether it's a domestic device or the latest professional audio visual products.
It comes down to habbits of IT technology ans system development, what the IT industry is doing and if there is a managed service contract. It’s only a matter of time before remote AV service contracts are standard. This is where opportunity lies – to have a managed service contract in place where you are constantly in touch with your systems.
An IP system allows the installer/integrator to have live reports on the health of an AV system. This means you can react quickly and be informed when things go offline or errors are thrown, you can also collect data and make data based decisions as well as having a connection with the customer long term.
AV integrators simply cannot ignore the trend towards IP migration; whether we like it or not, manufacturers are putting huge investment into IP connectivity and control and the new generation of customer will call for a fully integrated system
Every AV and security installer / integrator should now have (or be in the process of gaining!) at the very least a base level of I.T. knowledge. However it depends on what your niche is. It depends on who your customers are and if they have their own IT department - you are going to have to have conversations with them.
Every project is different, therefore having up-to-date knowledge on IT and network technology - or someone else with that knowledge - is essential to a successful future in the AV world. If you do not have the resources to do that, then partnering up and working with an IT company is a great way to solve the problem and for both parties to access new business opportunities.
Securing a system is a team sport; you will never choose one vendor and be able to say your system is secure. You must work with the manufacturer, distributor, integrator, and technology owner.
The manufacturer needs to make products capable of being secure. The integrator has to use secure features – implement them, change passwords and use password manager to communicate those passwords to the end user, do not use excel or email for passwords. The owners need to realise it is up to them to put pressure on us to make sure all these tasks get done.
CIE is one of the UK's leading and most innovative professional AV distributors and is leading the way in the migration of AV technologies from analogue to IP.
Our professional system design team provides a unique AV system architecture service for installers and integrators to help you adopt the latest AV-over-IP technologies.
If you would like to discuss you next IP-connected AV system or would like more information on the latest IP-connected pro AV products, please call our team today on T. 0115 9770075 or email us now.
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