Enterprise communications: IT managers prioritise UC/VC certification when buying audio technology

With IT often holding the purse strings for corporate communication technology investment, Tim Kridel asks Project Audio Visual CEO Don Lambresa about what IT managers want from audio systems.

Tim Kridel: What do enterprise IT departments overlook or underestimate when it comes to audio?

Don Lambresa [pictured above]: I have found that a lot of the clients we deal with will have a certain amount of knowledge based on experience or research relevant to what they are looking to achieve. They will look to integrators such as ourselves who have knowledge of a variety of products, experience of those products being used in varying spaces and the degree of success that has been achieved including any inherent issues.

I believe that when considering design for these spaces, especially now with the continuing increase of digital audio products whose nature is to sit on a network, a number of factors are key. These include fundamental points such as are the devices certified by the VC/UC vendor, what products are correct for the room size and required user experience, will these products sit on the clients LAN and what should be considered if they do. This includes elements such as bandwidth, security protocols, switch compatibility and function. 

If audio devices do sit on a standalone LAN or AV LAN, we need to consider how they can be managed and monitored successfully and put the infrastructure in place to achieve this.  With a considered setup and verified network design issues such as jitter, latency and packet loss can be mitigated within the audio flow. It will then be down to external factors around how the VC/UC is setup up and operates on a network scale.

TK: In your experience, what do IT managers typically prioritise when it comes to audio?

DL: The key aspects that IT managers we deal with consider critical are whether the hardware certified by the VC/UC vendor and if it is positioned in the correct spaces to deliver the quality experience required. 

How will it sit within the corporate infrastructure is a very important point, as it leads to other considerations such as the number of devices being specified, switch requirement/compatibility to support required features for digital audio, switch fabric capability, PoE(+) budget, required bandwidth and security considerations.

Another key priority is how simple is it to monitor and manage their devices from as few interfaces as possible to streamline maintenance and support.

TK: How does that geographic dispersal of the hybrid workplace affect audio needs and wants?

DL: I believe now there is a conscious effort to standardise on brand and experience across the workplace ecosystem as a whole. As we look to collaborate more and more on a larger scale, we are finding the majority of this involves a network media and digital audio in some format. 

The quality of the kit utilised coupled with a seamless an experience as possible is desirable.  If that real estate can be managed and monitored in a simple manner, this allows for a better support infrastructure, reduced downtime and a better overall experience.


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