AV/IT Nevermore, Nevermore

Was the convergence of AV and IT too ambitious of a goal? First we need to think about why companies invest in AV to begin with.

Daniel Newman

For a decade, perhaps maybe longer, we have been talking about this amazing convergence of AV and IT. Pretty soon all of our devices will be on the Internet; what a great day this will be for the management, control and evolution of AV.

As if suddenly our nerdy industry full of pimple-faced cart pushers would sudden become the cool kids as soon as the serial connector made friends with the RJ-45 … it was an ambitious goal to say the least. However, I would call it something else, perhaps to quote my friend Daniel Tosh (not really my friend) who says so sardonically when referring to the idea that ethanol would displace gasoline.

“It’s a dream, and it’s a dumb one.”

But here is the catch. There was nothing wrong, whatsoever, with the prediction of AV and IT converging. In fact, convergence has come and it has gone and the problem for the world of “AV” is just that—the belief that there is an “AV” business outside of the rest of the IT world.

Yes, the purists and the haters will scream bloody murder because the very thought of AV just dissipating into the vortex that is IT not only causes an identity crisis but throws up major question marks to the value of most traditional AV knowledge. Having said that, I want to challenge the belief systems of anyone who wants to separate AV out from the rest of the technology portion of a business by asking this question.

Why do companies invest in AV?

Interestingly enough, from the beginning of time, businesses invested in AV with a few major purposes:

  1. Training
  2. Presenting
  3. Communicating
  4. Selling

While I’m sure everyone can think of an AV application that doesn’t fall into these four buckets, I challenge you to tell me the last time a business made a major investment in any sort of AV technology just because it was cool.

By and large, companies that are investing in what we consider AV are making IT purchases with the intention of communication. They seek to communicate important information to their employees, customers and valued stakeholders. Whether it’s cloud-based video conferencing or an installed training room, the purpose of the technology isn’t and hasn’t been audiovisual, it has been collaboration.

As we head into the next year, perhaps one of the best realizations we can make is that AV/IT isn’t a relevant discussion anymore. The period by which it was relevant came and went a long time ago and those that are still trying to make the transition into IT have missed the mark by no less than a decade.

Harsh words? Perhaps, but if you can show me a major technology-purchasing decision maker that looks at AV as something beyond its core communication and IT services, I’ll show you a person that won’t be employed in the next 24 months.

AV/IT Nevermore? Perhaps I should have called it AV/IT never was…