Spotlight on InfoComm


14 Must-Read Predictions for 2017 from AV Experts

Integrators and manufacturers share their thoughts on how the industry will change in the next 12 months.

John Henkel, director of product marketing at RGB Spectrum:

“Big Data has taken the business world by storm and shows no signs of slowing down. In 2017, data volume will continue to grow, which will require video wall and image processing solutions that can visualize disparate sets of data and can share information for collaborative analysis.

Whether it is for managing an oil and gas control room, an office building lobby display or a surveillance control room, there will be an increased need for a multitude of display processing solutions — including video walls designed around a PC-based architecture or custom built display processing tools that allow for customization with various devices such as LEDs, tiles and projectors.

“2017 will be the year, during which, organizations will widely tap the power of video walls; empowering themselves with information — historically difficult to conceptualize — to make real–time decisions in mission critical environments.”

Chris Johnson CTO, corporate and enterprise at 2016 Integrator of the Year Diversified:

“Mesh App and Service Architecture (MASA) is fast becoming the design requirement for a broad mesh of back-end services to expose APIs at multiple levels throughout the enterprise.  These dynamic connections enable users to optimize the use of endpoints across the network in very effective ways. Human and machine interactions become natural and efficient extensions of the user as proper ‘mesh designs’ are considered.

“The assignment of security protocol is becoming a critical aspect in audiovisual environment design. An intelligent digital mesh for both technology platforms and application architectures become the crucible for a dynamic security process and remediation protocol. AV and IT tools must be harmonized within an adaptive security architecture to meet the corporate and enterprise regulatory control as critical data vulnerabilities are exposed.”

Brock McGinnis, sales manager at Westbury National:

“In 2017, many more of the largest and best-known AV display and hardware manufacturers will transition from an integration-channel sales model to a direct-to-end-user business development model targeted at government, educational and large enterprise customers. While these manufacturers will continue to engage with integrators as certified installation and service-provider partners, they will transact primarily through distributors and value-added-resellers. This will improve their competitiveness and gross margins while reducing costs and operational complexity.”

Rune Nielsen, EMEA director of sales at Stewart Filmscreen:

“In 2017 and beyond, I believe as an industry we will all see an increased use of virtual reality, not only for commercial AV applications but at a more granular level where design and specification processes incorporate VR to help salespeople and their customers visualize how larger screens will not only look but how they will transform a space and create opportunity.

“We also see 2017 being a breakout year for ultra-short-throw projectors and screens as well as higher-lumen, lower-cost projectors. These solutions deliver great ROI for the end user and they provide integrators and consultants new and more profitable options for creating more engaging large screen solutions. When designers, consultants, integrators and their customers think without boundaries, truly considering what’s possible in that dimensional space, the projection category makes great sense.”

Julian Phillips, executive VP at Whitlock:

“We have already seen Cisco announcing the death of hardware-based video infrastructure; now, expect to see hardware video codecs disappear as we go through technology refreshes in 2017 and beyond. That does not mean hardware disappears from the conference room entirely, but it is changing.

“As O365 and Skype for Business starts to dominate the enterprise as the principal application, manufacturers are designing devices which optimizes the user experience with high-quality audio, connectivity and interactivity. The Microsoft device portfolio will grow as will that of Crestron and Polycom with pretty much every audio manufacturer and peripheral player, all looking to be compatible with Microsoft and Cisco.

“It may sound counter-intuitive, but a software-based subscription service will be the biggest enabler of growth within the industry in 2017. And it is Microsoft, the so-called ‘AV outsider’ that is driving the change. Why? Well, remember how Microsoft PowerPoint became the enterprise standard for presentation in the 1990s and every company wanted projectors in every conference room? In exactly the same way, Microsoft O365 becomes the enterprise standard for collaboration globally and our customers need AV everywhere. The opportunity is far bigger than we have dreamed and it is happening now.

“The AV industry has been 80/20 for two decades: 80 percent of what we do is custom design and build and 20 percent standards-based, rinse and repeat. The flip happens in 2017. We will move to 80 percent standards and 20 percent custom-build. Why? Because our customers want simplicity, standards and scale and, quite frankly, we will make more money if we take out complexity and cost from our businesses. Customers are driving this, as are manufacturers and if you don’t get on board, you will join the many already locked in a downward spiral of delusion and despair. The good news is the 20 percent custom work becomes even more exciting and profitable too.”

Gina Sansivero, director of business development, education at FSR Inc.

“The once-trendy flex space will become one of the standard classroom layouts (or at least a more frequent design consideration). The ability for the room to be arranged in any configuration from traditional to active learning and anywhere in between offers faculty and students to engage in many ways, at any time. This type of room poses many AV design challenges, including optimal positioning for displays and cameras, storage for equipment and placement of power and low voltage connections, to name a few.”

Michael Shinn, director of global managed services at Verrex:

“[I expect to see an] increase in popularity of virtual reality applications in the corporate and education markets; more focus on the “user experience” in how the end user interacts with installed technology; a decrease in specification of control systems in small-to-medium size systems (automation will be the emphasis for those spaces); and an increase in cloud-enabled technology solutions for control, monitoring, streaming and collaboration (VC, interactivity, AC, etc.).

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