5 Ways AV Has Transformed in 2016

The evolution of voice control, the development of the first video products over the AVnu standard and learning from the DDOS attacks are just a few of the ways AV has advanced in 2016.

Tim Albright

What I mean by this is that the first company to produce video for AVB was an audio company. The video companies that have been involved with AVnu since the start didn’t do it because they did not see the benefit to change or augment their product line.

If they had, they would have made one by now. I applaud Biamp’s forward thinking in this and am excited to see where they go with the TLUX line. Let them lead the way and watch other traditional video companies follow.

Security Awareness

We started out the year talking about security with the revelations of the AMX security back door. We all should agree it was actually a good thing for our industry. It began a conversation we are still having about security.

The DDOS attacks of October drove that point home even more. Take a look at how it happened. If you look at the stories and read the logs, the logins and passwords in these installed cameras and other products were left at default.

I am not saying these were all AV integrators. However, it shines a light on a horrible practice of leaving security holes like this.

Integrators, if you do not have a process for securing your installed products you are doing your clients a disservice. It may even border on negligence, liable negligence, depending on your contract.

Manufacturers, you need to be providing regular security checks of your products and offering security patches on a regular basis. Let’s say Tuesdays since that’s what the IT industry already does. Do not call them firmware updates. Call them what they are; security patches.

Industry, we all need to work together to combat the impression that AV systems are insecure.

IP Control

The AVnu standard allows for control commands to be sent down the line, as does HDBaseT now. You can control a number of devices through the network and their built in web browsers.

Those of you who program or design systems know that the call for 232 ports in systems has dropped substantially from what it was just five years ago.

This is a remarkable shift in the industry. I wrote a piece for Commercial Integrator back in the Spring about moving toward a processor-less control system.

Companies like Utelogy are already accomplishing this. The time will come when other control manufacturers will see the benefits of using a server as the control processor and just uploading programs to that.

As this happens, the programmers and installers will need to become more adept at network setup and troubleshooting.

No longer will it be flipping pins two and three to correct a control issue. It will be things like making sure IP tables are correct and everyone can connect traversing VLANs.

Wireless Video/Audio

This segment is becoming more mature every year. I wanted to include it to highlight the second and third generations of things like ClickShare and the like.

My first wireless video system was for VGA and cost $1000 ten years ago. It was based on RF technology, could not go through walls, and only transmitted 50 feet.

Now we are able to go longer distances, use the networks, and create some pretty impressive video collaboration tools on screen, in real time.

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We have lost pop stars, cultural icons, and others this year, but technology has marched on. The connection of Amazon Echo and other voice control devices in the residential will lead directly to commercial applications being requested.

Video over the network, not just sending video point to point over twisted pair, will continue to move forward. This, and IP control, will require your techs and engineers to dive deeper into IT than they have in the past.

It was a good year for advancements and I’m looking forward to what 2017 has to offer.