IES Communications: Spearheading The Audio Visual Revolution For The Virtual Workforce

In recent years, the global telecommunication market has seen a substantial increase in investment and growth. This is primarily due to the advancement of mobile technologies and the increasing demand for high-speed data services. The industry has rapidly changed how individuals and companies communicate worldwide with IoT, 5G & Network Infrastructure, Structured Cabling, Cybersecurity, Communication Models, and Audio Visual. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst to accelerate this curve as social distancing and remote working became the norm, causing a significant roadblock for the in-office workforce.

The industry has rapidly changed how individuals and companies communicate worldwide with IoT, 5G & Network Infrastructure, Structured Cabling, Cybersecurity, Communication Models, and Audio Visual.

Talking about this arduous period during the pandemic, Matt Goff, CTS, Business Development Manager at IES Communications, says, “With in-person meetings out of the question, new challenges arose. Crucial conversations with customers or even coordinating new system designs needed to be approached differently.” He continued, “To solve this predicament, almost overnight, we saw a considerable shift to video conferencing, which is now integrated into daily business communication. This substantial reliance on video conferencing has changed how most users view their audio visual systems.”

However, there are two sides to every coin; while some companies stepped up to the occasion, some hit a brick wall and did not know how to proceed. At the same time, others looked to the future and started implementing work-from-home solutions. He added, “One education customer we worked with went as far as to build and hand deliver VTC systems to their key staff all over town for efficient communication.”

Effective communication is at the core of every company’s success. Businesses run smoother when you can instantly join your meeting with the touch of a button: no hassle involved. To accommodate this shift, he says, “We saw a trend of more complex AV systems being replaced with simpler ones. The more prominent AV manufacturers saw some market share taken by lesser-used manufacturers such as Poly and Logi.” He continued, “We even saw AV specifications change due to product shortages. Those that started planning in advance were rewarded with lower pricing and product availability, and those that waited faced material shortages and exorbitant prices.”

The pandemic brought to the limelight the importance of digital transformation and emerging technology. A survey by KPMG reported that 79 percent of CEOs said their investment into digitizing operations has accelerated by months or years due to the pandemic. Yet, Bain & Co. Research found that only 8% of global companies have successfully achieved their digital transformation goals.

According to Matt, successful digitization shares a few common themes. The first step to successfully digitizing operations is creating a unified platform across the organization. Unity in the look and feel is responsible for greater user adoption of new technologies. Leveraging and implementing systems such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom consistently is vital. Once you find a system that is right for your organization, proper training of the end users is crucial. This can be done through email blasts, group or one on one training, user guides, and newsletters; employees will then feel confident in their ability to navigate these new systems and will be more likely to implement them, increasing ROI.  

While the IES Communications team is always looking to perfect the digitization process and improve the meeting experience for end users, the end goal is to let their users feel like they are physically in the same room as their local team. This will be accomplished using multiple cameras to track and pick up on end users from various angles, revolutionizing virtual meetings to have more insightful and focused conferences and discussions.

Talking about the other workplace trends Matt foresees for the future, he highlights the following two:

1. Workspaces without borders will include current video conferencing technology solutions, and we anticipate improvements to be made to these existing solutions for both improved audio and video. We foresee that microphone technology will continue to improve to provide a more immersive experience. Other applications include allowing the contractor or the customer to perform walk-throughs of project spaces before construction is completed.

2. Connectivity Wired / Wireless technologies are both continuing to evolve. Even in 2022, IES recommends using a hard-wired connection to accompany any wireless equipment for a backup solution, especially if the wireless component is in a critical area. Eventually, we see wireless technologies improving to the point where a hard-wired backup isn’t required.

While the future of work has gone through immense change, so has the traditional workplace. In this digital era, the capability to connect everything and everyone has achieved a remarkable feat, with IoT altering how the average person experiences the world. Explaining this further, he says, “We can look at the new Apple AirTag, for instance. This product demonstrates remarkable technology – one can place an AirTag in their suitcase and track its travel from one location to the next on an airplane. In comparison to the tracking feature provided by the airline, this $30 AirTag proves to be much more accurate in locating a suitcase than what the airline can provide. Today, IoT sensors and systems are used in manufacturing, factories, smart buildings, and other industries, and we have only scratched the surface of their capabilities.”

The arrival of Smart Buildings has allowed several new technologies to emerge into the low-voltage space. PoE Lighting is a new technology that is exciting to follow offering multiple unexplored opportunities. He explains, “For example, many PoE Lighting systems are more IoT devices as they have sensors or inputs for sensors to be added; now, you can plug in gunshot detection sensors into the light fixture and connect it to the network. Other sensor capabilities include smoke, vape, and moisture detection, which can be leveraged to create a safer workplace or learning environment. Some of these platforms have databases that can track data and have the ability to anticipate and optimize the end user’s needs. Other systems will enable the ability to tie into or sync with the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth. Energy savings can be realized through discrete powering on/off of lights and other fixtures. These same systems can also sync with or be tied to window shade systems to create a specific ambiance depending on the environment. For instance, dim the lights by 50% and close the shades during a video conferencing session.”

IES has experience with both design and installation of POE Lighting solutions. When implemented in the correct type of project, PoE Lighting can save the customer on capital expenditures and operating costs. Smart buildings also offer safety for building tenants; for instance, gunshot detection systems can notify law enforcement and local school officials and teachers about a potential situation so they can prepare and respond instantly, especially with the rise in shootings across the US.

The continued innovations in the telecommunication industry will make it the fastest-growing segment worldwide, with analysts foreseeing that product innovation and an increase in mergers and acquisitions will only facilitate the continued growth and success of the industry.

In conclusion, he befittingly sums up the industry as “The ability to instantly connect 2 or 2,000 people, anywhere in the world, seamlessly, with the push of a button.”