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Challenging but Inspiring: The Impending Disruption of Traditional AV
Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Challenging but Inspiring: The Impending Disruption of Traditional AV

Over the last twenty years, we have seen separate networks consolidating towards internet protocol (IP). Where there were once public address systems, television, telephone and internet running parallel, voice over IP (VoIP) and other connected solutions have shared increasing IP bandwidth to bypass traditional circuitry.

With the proliferation of one-gigabit Ethernet over the past two decades, voice, data and internet bandwidth have become easily facilitated over IP – and today, new facilities are devoid of the analog systems of old. But one holdout in the transition to IP content distribution has been AV, as 1080P and the growing 4K format require increased bandwidth to function seamlessly, with lossless content.

But with the advent of 10 gigabit Ethernet, and technology such as ZeeVee, a future of IP distributed 4K video at 60 frames?per-second is not distant. In fact, as early as mid-2015, Insight Media was predicting an acceleration to the disruptive consolidation – and in the months that have followed, the data proves them right. Their August ’15 whitepaper, The Death of Dedicated AV Distribution paints an inspiring – or disruptive – picture, based on your positioning in the market.

And it’s an industry-wide ‘call to action’ to disrupt – or be disrupted.

Driving the disruption will be a sense of finality in the convergence, as IP takes over as the dominant format. And while this will enable a host of new internet functions for displays (it might very well be the best thing to ever happen to the digital signage and display business) it streamlines other components of the AV setup – especially cabling. The incumbent technology, HDMI for example, is practical for it’s ability to stream up to 4K, 30fps content (HDMI 2.0 can reach 60fps), but limitations such as range and data/network capabilities limit its future. Simply put, these are the two areas where Ethernet thrives.

As stated in the whitepaper, this will have wide?ranging consequences:

  • Lower cabling costs for end-users
  • Lower equipment costs, as products such as range-extenders are no longer required
  • Lower programming expense
  • Lower management and maintenance costs
  • Migration from traditional AV to IT for service and repair. With seamless connectivity and integration over IP, many traditionally localized challenges will become centrally managed

Premier Mounts, as a leader in AV, supports the evolution of the industry – however disruptive – for the potential outcome of true convergence over IP. As Steve Jobs once said, “If you don’t disrupt yourself, someone else will.” Fortunately, as a partner with many leading firms, from installers, to integrators, distributors and retailers, we see an industry proactively taking the right steps towards new technologies.

With IP content and networking, today’s TV panels and Digital displays will transition from passive to participatory, driving data through the network via everything from touchscreen user input, to traditional mouse and keyboard control, to applications as advanced as Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication, a technology that comes with another developing phenomenon, the Internet-of-Things (IoT).

As stated in the whitepaper, history holds some great examples for what we might see with the proliferation of what they are calling ‘4K Multimedia over IP’ – and the struggle of incumbents to adapt. The disruption of circuit-­based telephones by VoIP is a classic example.

But with clear communication, and a shared vision for the future through thought leadership such as Insight Media’s whitepaper, and product innovation such as that which is being developed and deployed by Premier Mounts, the AV industry will change for the better. Because despite the disruption being characterized as “A giant amoeba that, as it extends to new product categories and problems, slowly digests the category to be absorbed into the overall corporate network,” this industry is increasingly ready to react!