Spotlight on InfoComm


Nothing but Cloud: Why You Should Offer AV as a Service

Putting ‘nothing-but-cloud’ AV and its top-to-bottom management into the hands of expert partners lets an enterprise keep its focus on its business goals—and leave the rest to the experts.

CI Staff

Recently, we’ve seen the cloud extend to include all parts of the solution needed for a user to collaborate easily and productively—an “all-in-one” approach to outsourcing AV and video services that include not only the equipment itself but also an entire range of cloud-based remote management services bolstered by on-site service resources.

You’ve heard of “Software as a Service.” This is “AV as a Service,” the evolution of a true utility consumption model that’s outsourced as a single package.

What organizations in search of better communication used to build piece by piece can now be delivered as a friction-free service charged to a single monthly bill.

The idea of a “nothing-but-cloud” approach with all the equipment and services guaranteed at a fixed monthly pricing is certainly attractive.

Why cobble together incompatible systems and then hand them off to an overburdened IT team to maintain when there’s a much easier way?

A Failure to Communicate

Anyone who works in an office is well aware of the challenges presented by meetings and conferences. Participants typically need help using AV or video conferencing systems.

Cables or equipment gets unplugged, damaged, are disconnected or configured incorrectly. Connections fail due to security, interoperability or connectivity problems. Rooms and equipment are scheduled incorrectly or not at all.

The results? Miscommunication, inefficiency, added expense, and even moments of embarrassment that we’ve all suffered or witnessed.

System integrators exist to smooth the path to successful interoffice communication and collaboration.

Cloud-based solutions for services such as video conferencing have definitely improved over the years, but organizations are still saddled with tough hardware decisions as well as the task of managing multiple contracts from multiple vendors for installation, integration, and maintenance.

A Better Way to Engage

AV as a Service is an emerging solution in this market, and the best way to think of it is simply extending the cloud all the way to the user’s fingertips.

In this model, AV and collaboration experts analyze how the organization functions, design a solution, install and integrate whatever equipment is needed (from whichever vendors fit the bill), and program it for easy control.

Because design, hardware, software, and service are all part of the deal, the only thing the enterprise needs to do is use the system every day and pay a single monthly fee.

It’s somewhat akin to renting a car—you get the functionality you need for a single payment and avoid all of the maintenance headaches.

Service Is the Key

While making the local equipment part of a “cloud service” is a revolutionary idea, it’s equally important to provide an end-to-end, guaranteed service level to make sure everything runs smoothly.

That’s why the AV-as-a-service provider has to be ready to deliver top-to-bottom 24/7 support either remotely or on-site—or both.

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Remote management is great, but there also has to be a “go team” ready to respond to the location if needed. Most current cloud-based services can’t cover that “last mile” which leaves you basically on your own.

An AV-as-a-service provider can bridge that gap, and it makes all the difference.

Enterprises need a comprehensive global managed service that can integrate the essential components required, such as a 24/7 help desk, remote monitoring and management, conference production, and managed video network services.

They might even want the option of an on-site AV concierge whose job it is to leave nothing to chance.

That’s quite a change for organizations who have no AV staff at all or rely on overworked and undertrained IT staffers to be available at all times to solve a sudden AV crisis on equipment with which they’re unfamiliar.

What does this kind of service look like? Enterprises should be able to contract for customized service levels that guarantee the specific experience they require. Everything needed to meet their goals is included in one monthly rate.

The Smart Enterprise AV Strategy

AV as a service follows the trend of IT outsourcing that has been going on for years in the hardware, software application, and networking arenas.

Global enterprises that consider remote collaboration absolutely crucial have led the way. They need their AV and video conferencing to behave as unobtrusively as a basic utility like electricity or Internet access.

There’s no time and no tolerance for the drama of communication slip-ups that might slow down the business.

CIOs and CEOs resonate with the AV-as-a-service model because it’s strategic, helping them eliminate traditional hardware and labor costs from the P/L ledger and adding the service as an operating cost instead.

The bottom line: just as outsourcing services such as data storage and networking have made life easier for businesses and organizations of all kinds, putting nothing-but-cloud AV and its top-to-bottom management into the hands of expert partners lets an enterprise keep its focus on its business goals—and leave the rest to the experts.

Peter Charland is the vice president, global managed services, HB Communications. He will be part of the Total Tech Summit session, “Fresh Horses—Products & Applications Your Company Can Ride for Revenue & Profit Growth” that starts on Thursday, November 3rd at 8 a.m.

Topics include:

  • 4K/UHD TV
  • High Definition & Immersive Audio
  • User Empowerment
  • Emerging User Interfaces
  • Audio & Video Sensors & Analytics
  • DC Powered Networks