The last thing integration customers want are AV systems that disrupt their network. In 2017, we can expand that to the last thing they want are systems that disrupt or corrupt their cloud services.
When deciding what AV systems ought to be connected to the cloud, start with the premise that technology and service choices are based upon business strategies and objectives —that business outcomes drive these choices. With that in mind,here are a few simple use cases showing the practical advantages of connecting AV with the cloud.
Everything related to collaboration should be in the cloud, or connected to it.
Any core platform technologies that are extensible and have scale economic advantages, only requiring configurability and multitenancy to differentiate clients and users,are moving to the cloud. This is now happening rapidly with video conferencing as well—in most cases, as a cloud service the AV equipment costs, maintenance and operational expenses, and costs related to high availability and sustainability are much lower than building their own.
So,what about the AV equipment? Those are the elements essential to making an otherwise vanilla video cloud solution uniquely theirs—room schedulers, content systems, audio, video endpoints, displays —if your plan has not considered how all the elements connect to the cloud to make the user experience complete,then your collaboration solution will have considerable limitations.
Everything related to digital signage should be in the cloud, or connected to it.
Most digital signage solutions today have a cloud-enabled option. Many are exclusively “cloud powered.”These give the client significant choice in terms of features among the various cloud solutions in digital signage, and are shrinking the size of the premise market to specialty content management requirements. While displays are not going away anytime soon, even players will diminish as cloud-based live streaming becomes more economical.
Everything related to conference room design should support access to, and management from, the cloud.
Where AV has become part of an IT organization, the principles of IT service management and ITIL are changing how AV folks think about designing conference rooms and delivering what’s considered typical AV services. AV design has not often enough considered business objectives, including fail over, survivability and serviceability as principle design objectives,and AV manufacturers that offer typical IT high availability features are too few in number.
Cloud-based management services from manufacturers, integrators and service providers are quickly becoming essential, where AV equipment is connected to the cloud and giving early evidence of a problem, allowing for configuration or problem resolution.
At the same time,there are certain practical realities that must be factored if you invest in connecting AV to the cloud to improve service and support. Too few AV devices really allow for remote anything —connected to the cloud or not. If you want to take advantage of the cloud for managing AV equipment, be sure your design considers what equipment supports it and how. IoT is a promising approach and touted by many AV manufacturers. Look beyond the marketing and hype however to understand exactly what the capabilities and benefits are today.
Nothing related to any of these applications should be in the cloud, or connected to it, unless you have thought it through.
Consider each of the following and verify to your satisfaction (as well as any applicable compliance requirements, either regulatory or corporate governance) that such plans avoid unexpected risks.
MNEC (mass notification emergency communications) systems can alert those in harm’s way using audio, video and lighting. Learn more.
Make sure their data will remain their data. Understand with any cloud provider that you are moving data to, or connecting your AV equipment to, that any information, configuration,or other aspects of your business dealings are secured, protected and in no way usable by the provider.
Don’t pass off any obligation to ensure their business, information and people are protected when in the cloud or connected to it. Even where the provider offers all the right security and compliance measures, if they drop the ball it’s still you that is impacted. So before you make any move, be sure to assess risk —determine the benefits vs. risk associated with each service, or for any connections you make to it. Based on that risk profile, develop appropriate recovery and continuity measures. If the benefits are not clear or if there’s no appropriate recovery should something occur, take stock whether this is a good idea or not.