Another panel looked at the growing importance of software to the AV world, and asked are we moving from an AV world of hardware manufacturers to software providers?
We’ve seen it happen in other markets pointed out Simon Cooper from global integration group AVI-SPL, such as the voice world.
Martin Barbour from QSC said it was is important to understand there are two fundamental elements to the AV industry; “
We will always going to require AV-based hardware end points, the ability to ingest content from different sources. When we come to the number crunching and processing at that point it becomes self-evident other adjacent industries have illustrated the easiest, most profitable way to do more is to move into software-based processing, because its far,far easier to develop over time.”
Nevil Bounds, from UK integrator Feltech had seen his company adapt to the changing world by employing people with different skillsets; “What I would call regular AV programming, that isn’t the people we are looking for. We are looking for younger people with gaming or coding writing backgrounds, who can make the interfaces clients want.
The traditional AV model doesn’t work anymore. Most manufacturers are ahead of the game with regards to this, but I think most integrators are a bit behind.”
Bernd Schindler from German AV consultants IB Schindler felt manufacturers didn’t trust themselves or integrators enough to decouple software from the hardware,
“Their IP is in a DSP algorithm or the OS of a touchpanel. If you sell it as a box it cannot be copied, or be licensed in any way, it’s just a box.
Selling software is a completely different business model and that’s too big a change right now. The sales channel doesn’t understand it, the AV industry isn’t ready.”
Another panel discussion was entitled ‘installing AV was the easy bit and that the industry should be getting better at measuring success at the other end’.
Mike Brooman from UK consultancy group Vanti had seen his company make the mistake of getting excited about products only for them to not work in the field. “We have made sure our service teams talks to our engineering team to relay when things have gone as well, to say don’t spec it again.
We have rolled out code that allows us to measure how often people are using particular components of systems, that gives us the ability to better advise clients what to invest in when it comes to refresh time.”
If we want long term relationships said Simon Cooper “We need to be able to demonstrate the outcomes we said we would deliver we have delivered, and to show how it has improved their business.
As budgets are put under pressure, clients are looking to make evidence-based decisions on future deployments, and if we measure success on deployments we have done, we can say this has worked and this has worked etc.”
One panel looked at 4K, asking if 8K is on the horizon, are we even 4K ready yet?
It was here a familiar cry was heard, as demonstrated by Kashaan Butt from video production company Dreamtek.
“We are 4K ready at the acquisition, production and post-production end, the bottleneck is at thedelivery, and a lot of that comes down to bandwidth.”
Jason Rouzaire, an independent consult working in Hong Kong was keen to point out the race to resolution was not the be all and end all of video reproduction. “Are we 4K ready? We are not even maximising the potential of 1080p yet. The jump from 4K to 8K makes sense, but we haven’t addressed all the other parameters yet, there’s no standardisation for HDR for example, we need to get all that right before we go to the next step. We don’t need above 1080p on a mobile phone, people are comparing numbers rather than outcomes.”
Another panel looked at voice control, and asked with the rise of systems like Amazon’s Alexa, could voice take over from touch as the default way we control AV tech?
Andrew Upshon from distributor, Maverick, has seen real interest in voice from the channel, adding that Alexa and Google Home had ‘legitimised the category’.