The Emergence of hybrid AV & Broadcast workflows driving remote work culture:

By Vincent W. Allen, Managing Director VAAV Industries & Director of Broadcast and Streaming Production, American Movie Company

Much has been written regarding the AV-IT convergence; however, little acknowledgment has gone to the implementation of broadcasting in IT workflows.  During the Covid-19 pandemic, this equally important inflection point reached critical mass. The convergence of production technology with enterprise AV-IT systems became commonplace. Covid forced the integration of conferencing technology with traditional broadcast tools to accommodate interviews, remote production, teleprompting, remote directing, and the like during quarantine periods. News agencies have been moving toward AV-IT convergence for some time now. The integration of production into traditional corporate entities is of equal importance–law firms, hedge funds, banks, and even schools have all adopted these tools in the normal course of business. Non-traditional entities such as houses of worship, concert venues, theaters, and gyms have all integrated some version of the broadcast, streaming, or conferencing tools. As the expression goes, never waste a crisis. Covid has been responsible for creating new demand for remote broadcasting and AV interoperability; it also accelerated development that was already in the pipeline. In March 2020, businesses all over the country were forced to shut their doors amid the rising tide of the pandemic. Being caught flat-footed, businesses were forced to either pivot and adopt remote work policies and technology or furlough staff and cease operations. During the pandemic, what nobody saw was the work of millions of AV technologists working near round-the-clock schedules to keep society afloat. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the worlds of AV-IT and broadcast media collided with long-ranging business implications.

Because of the rapid deployment of AV and remote work technologies, we now live in a world where people are broadcasting from their homes, offices, and schools every single day. We have seen significant broadcast outlets adopt AV and video conferencing technologies. Facilitating interviews with Zoom et al. Major broadcast workflows like the Nasdaq are leveraging integrations between Vmix and Zoom to produce programming. This comes on the heels of a boom of financial and legal institutions integrating broadcast and streaming technologies into their town hall and large meeting spaces. It has become clear that with millennials aging into senior leadership positions and gen-Z on the rise–modern business landscapes must adapt to include the development and roll-out of technologies that previously were only available at high-dollar tv studios. When I first started my career in the ’90s, tools like greenscreens, teleprompters, multi ME vision mixers, and the like were prohibitively expensive. If you wanted to build your own studio or broadcast station, you were looking at a quarter million dollar minimum spend. In today’s landscape of streaming, YouTube, and influencers, people are broadcasting from their phones every day. With the introduction of companies like Elgato, Black Magic, and Newer–small businesses or independent producers can put together a studio that will rival any large production house for a fraction of the cost. This has driven demand for production tools in all manner of business milieus; especially among C-suite executives.

Moving into the second quarter of the 21st century, leaders have to re-envision how the business operates. With the emergence of more remote-centric working cultures, the gig economy, and the great recession, the ability to work flexibly has become the hot talking point for both employees and leadership.  At Jackson Lewis’ 2021 Corporate Counsel Conference,  remote work was the centerpiece. When lawyers are discussing the legalities of remote work, how to implement compliance, and how to structure compensation, it is only a matter of time before remote work becomes the new normal. Business leadership will need to invest heavily in these technologies to not only drive KPIs–but also to reach critical segments of the market. As Bill Gates once said, if you are not on the internet, you are not in business. Modern businesses need to adapt that sentiment; if you do not have a live stream, are you really in business? Companies and engineers worldwide are leveraging cloud-based tools like AWS and Google cloud to decentralize their AV and broadcast workflows. Software-based control systems coupled with IP control allow for the control and operation of critical systems to be placed in the cloud or embedded in mobile applications. This can be done with everything from broadcast, to AV and meeting systems–as well as room and HVAC control.  As companies are opting for more location agnostic deployments, we are seeing these developments get more traction. In 2020 WW gained significant public acceptance for its move to virtual studios. Being nominated for three Webbys and recognized in two additional special technical achievement categories. In the same year, the NFL draft integrated a combination of Zoom, Teams, and Tricccaster video switchers to produce the coverage of the annual draft.  The History of swear words on Netflix was produced in an entirely remote fashion integrating remote directing and teleprompting technology to connect talent in the studio with directors and producers. The impact of this technology is clear; employees are looking to work in a more balanced, flexible, and often fully remote capacity. Jamie Dimon and Elon Musk’s perspective notwithstanding, the genie isn’t going back in the bottle. Remote work is here to stay. The great recession is evidence of that. As we move forward, we will see vertices adopt broadcast-style technologies, in lockstep with the broadcast and event worlds adopting more AV-IT tools. Any business unwilling to adapt and pivot into this new landscape will lose critical market share or close its doors. Companies that resist technological change do so at their own peril. Just ask Kodak!