AV in the next 10 years: Electrosonic

With InAVate EMEA celebrating its 10th birthday this year, Tim Kridel canvasses opinion from distributors, integrators, manufacturers and consultants about what they thought would be the biggest changes in pro AV over the next 10 years?

In the Jan/Feb edition of InAVate magazine Tim Kridel looked ten years into the future with a cross-section of the AV industry. As an online exclusive you can also read some more detailed viewpoints from some of the people he interviewed for the article. 

In this article he hears from Rod Behr, head of technology, Electosonic.

RB: The technology used in AV systems installations is changing constantly and changes as our clients' business requirements change. We see far greater use of cloud services and simplified collaboration services for clients. Recent years have seen a noticeable shift from hardware to software. Much of what we built racks to accomplish ten years ago can now be delivered using a tablet app. Customer expectations have therefore grown – whereas “integration” used to mean self-contained systems with individual physical devices talking to each other, it now means those systems integrating with existing communications technologies to provide far more comprehensive collaboration solutions. IT networking and integration software (“middleware”) now connect AV systems with communications technologies in ever-more intimate relationships.

Our challenge is always to pre-empt our clients' requirements and provide advice and recommendations to them in advance. We invest a lot of time and effort in keeping our clients educated about the future of AV, technology hardware and software, and how these changes can deliver value for them. We organise events, our annual Technology Days, write whitepapers and guides, conduct presentations and seminars and produce videos that help guide our clients through the maze of technology on the market and/or plan their AV strategy. Producing Thought Leadership and Commercial Insight for our clients is an extremely important part of our culture, it enables them to make the right ‘AV decisions’ for their business, now and in the future. We believe in long term partnerships with all our clients, even when a client does not have a project in process, we see it as our job to impart knowledge we have learnt, so when the time comes to upgrade their AV estate, they can make informed decisions. 

We also work closely with our manufacturer partners to understand their products roadmaps and ensure our engineering and installation staff are trained in advance. We engage in many Industry events, conferences and seminars which are also market focused to ensure we are close to not only what Industry opinion is but the client and user experience.

Our customers are far more technically aware than ever before. Whereas we used to be called upon to dial audioconferences on behalf of senior executives, technical fluency now means those executives expect to be able to operate systems themselves. Focus is therefore placed on control system GUI design and remote monitoring, rather than being able to have technical staff present with the technology. Network connectivity is also now an expectation, so integrators find themselves dealing with IT challenges to do with firewalls and security access. There is also the requirement to integrate with an increasing range of software systems as well as traditional hardware solutions – so videoconferencing, for example, must now take account of Skype for Business as much as H.232 and H.264 protocols.

Collaboration and new meeting styles are driving the market.  The demand is very strong from users and our role is to support clients being able to deliver these services and engage with their IT departments to integrate requirements. The expectation of the presence and sophistication of collaboration tools in meeting spaces has grown exponentially, especially as Generation Y become increasingly influential in business. The nature of those spaces has also changed, as informal “huddle” spaces in open-plan office areas take over from traditional meeting rooms and meetings become increasingly ad hoc and unplanned/unscheduled.

Other Q&As in the series:
Hewshott International
Cordless Consultants

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