Audio Video’s Bright Future

By Blake Hampton, Project Manager, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC

I walk onto the stage. A spot light, that my team had setup the night before, burning brightly. Microphone hot and ready to go. Slideshow projecting onto the two biggest screens that can fit into the ballroom. There is a sharp dressed presenter ready to show a crowd of teachers and administrators the latest techniques in teaching. Waiting, slide advancer in hand, for assistance with one last task before they start. “May you please minimize the screen so I can see my notes”? A nod, a mouse click, and a quick walk off stage start the show.

Audio Visual as an industry expects to see a decent CAGR of over 12% within the next 7 years. Every industry is expecting to see growth over the next ten years. AV will continue to grow. I see a number of factors that could show a bright future for AV.

Artificial Intelligence is going to happen. Every industry will be affected by its use.

This growth could be greater. These projections are just expectations. Expectations that try to factor in historical precedent. That is very difficult to do. One important reason is because corporations currently have a massive stockpile of cash and capital. More than has ever been seen in the history of the world. The capital necessary to create a larger network of AV over IP based technology within their own companies. Being able to network a dozen items into a single room takes a lot of skill in how devices can be tied together. Nowadays, the space to control those items in one room can be minimal. A small closet with a rack of the controls is planned out. Each item has a LAN port that can either connect to the broader network or be on its own audio-visual network. This also allows a stronger, cleaner connection for video conferences. A small company, multi-faceted corporations, or one time AV events, all of these various settings can be wired up or setup with Wi-Fi to connect and talk with each other. Giving a technician the ability to service a meeting from just one spot. The decision to invest in AV over IP has to be made first in order to participate in what is coming in the near future.

Artificial Intelligence is going to happen. Every industry will be affected by its use. For example, for AV, the aspects of the industry that deal with security will most likely have, at the very least, an AI program that recognizes when and where a device, such as a security camera, needs maintenance. The AI will recognize an issue from the camera, along the wire, and into the codec. With AV, every new device added into a room, even if it’s not AV over IP, can potentially expose the network to security vulnerabilities.

Securing the network will always be important. I have not stayed in this industry if the potential for what AV could do for my end users wasn’t amazing. AV incorporating AI has unlimited potential. Within ten years, potentially, we are talking about anyone scheduling a video conference meeting into the company network system. Walking into any room with AV. The AI recognizes their face and not only has the meeting ready to connect, but sets the rest of the room’s devices to what they’ve learned about this person’s preference. Securing and performing AV to prep for this potential is only possible if these devices are installed with AV over IP in mind. Invest in AI is there if decisions are made to invest.

Covid has had a profound effect on the industry. We saw various AV locations lose literally 90% of all their business. No sector was safe. No position was better off than another. The technology needed to create the services was not available. I watched myself and 400 of my fellow employees lose our jobs. Talented and certified technicians, admins, and managers were put into limbo. Some could wait. Some had to jump into new careers. A part of this is not new. It’s something that was seen in the crash of 2008. The difference between now and then is the access to educational resources. Besides the ever expanding and intricate library of AV certifications, like Cisco, Crestron, and Christe. Part of AI’s development is creating No-Code and Low-Code solutions are being developed. Possibly making it, so an organization doesn’t have to have an AI engineer for every aspect of a business. At the very least, it can be another of the many skills an AV tech could learn. There is access to a workforce with experience and education. As a whole, AV hit rock bottom in 2020. The silver lining being that we could see a growth unlike any other.

For AV, the bottom line is to get the source material to its destination. With a laptop, a 25ft HDMI cord, and a display, we can meet that bottom line. With each year, the technology available raises our standards. It continues to break the limits of what a presentation can do. More importantly, it allows for the whole of the AV industry to give that ability to our clients. That sharp dressed presenter could give their message because it’s their job to know what AV spends every day striving for—communicating with clients to make a space that lets them share their knowledge. Continuing to master these new technologies is how AV will help spread the word for new medicine and new product, and connect better with people in the office and out. Audio Visual is there if the decision is made to invest.