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Overheard at CI Summit: Wireless Video, Net Neutrality & More

AV professionals got together to talk market trends, technology, and business practices at last week’s CI Summit in Orlando, Fl.

Tim Albright

This past week about a couple hundred AV professionals got together to talk market trends, technology, and business practices. It was the 2014 edition of the CE Pro Summit and the CI Summit.

I was lucky enough to be a part of this group. A number of the conversations revolved around wireless video, training the next generation, net neutrality, and relationship sales.

Nearly every conversation about the latest trend from a technology standpoint was about wireless video. From Clickshare to Enzo everybody was doing something. The biggest trick to this was to rely on the client and their IT team. See, a majority of these wireless video devices use the client’s existing network infrastructure. If this is the case, and it is the avenue they chose to take, you need to make certain their network can support the solution you are providing.

One of the best sessions at the CI Summit was about finding and keeping great talent. Yes, you can hire the best AV tech in your market. This will cost a premium as they are more likely than not already being compensated by their current employer.

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What may be better is the idea of apprenticeships. This is where you hire some talented young people, pair them up with an experienced and able teacher/tech, and allow them to learn while on the job. It is an old school approach to training but it will get you dedicated employees who have been trained in your processes and thinking.

Net Neutrality has far reaching implications in the world of AV. We can begin with video conferencing and unified communications. If Net Neutrality is not supported these technologies are in danger of being discriminated against in favor of paying providers.

Then we can get into the conversation about 4k. As much as I love the idea and promise of this technology, it needs more bandwidth than we can currently provide in a 1 gig network. With Net Neutrality, this technology also faces the prospect of being relegated to a lower tier.

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The great thing about the CI Summit, and events like it, are the conversations. The Summit made allowances for round table discussions on everything from social media to best practices. In addition there are the conversations that happen after the event hours are over.

Whether it was at the fire pits on the property or the lobby, these discussions allowed those of us who do not have as much experience in the industry to learn at the cuff of those who have. Those sages are more than willing to offer up their experiences and help move the next generation forward.

Thanks to Commercial Integrator for including me in this year’s event. It was a great experience and I learned so much. Hopefully I will be able to join them next year when the CI Summit moves to Washington, D.C. in August. If it is anything like this year, it will be well worth the investment of time and energy.