AV meets IP: Implications and opportunities

AV devices and services are increasingly using IP networks, while enterprise IT departments are taking over AV responsibilities. Tim Kridel investigates what these trends mean for vendors and integrators.

If it seems like IP has become the new foundation for AV, that’s because it is.

“Almost every single project has some sort of IP component to it these days,” says Tom Thomas, AVI-SPL director of technology solutions.

Several factors are driving the migration to IP. One is the savings that come from putting AV on the client’s existing IT network – something many have been reluctant to do because they’re concerned about bandwidth and security.

“Absolutely cost savings is part of this,” Thomas says. “If the customer already has switches and other infrastructure, it just makes more sense to use what’s already in place versus building something dedicated.”

For integrators, the savings from piggybacking can be a plus if it means the client now has more money to spend on AV hardware and services. There also can be additional savings from using IT products such as Cat5 cable.

“The implementation costs are much less than traditional [AV] systems,” says Darren Cheshier, Clockworks Consulting Services principal and owner. “Ethernet cabling, for example, is far less expensive and easier to manage than five-wire coax.” Even so, other costs sometimes outweigh the savings of piggybacking and using off-the-shelf IT equipment.

“I don't think it’s any less expensive due to the digital revolution,” Cheshier says. “Equipment is more expensive now, and even though it’s easier to install, it’s more complex to design and commission the systems.”

In the full article InAVate explores responsibility for AV systems within an organization and how IP migration will affect AV vendors in the long term. Read now in InAVate Active

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