We still haven’t seen anywhere close to full adoption of 4K AV technology, but before the first InfoComm trade show floor presentation trumpeting 4K’s arrival a few years back, we were already hearing about companies that were developing—or had already been using—8K, and even 16K resolution.
In a similar vein this week, technology guru Daniel Newman attended an event this week where one of the speaker’s slides featuring a prediction of the widespread adoption of 6G while we’re all still trying to figure out how to harness the power of 5G.
Newman says this “proliferation” of AV technology is happening “too fast [for consumers] to know when to invest and when to wait.” It’s kind of like how there are Christmas decorations in stores when kids haven’t gone back to school yet and Easter decorations displayed there on Christmas Eve.
One of the things I’ve loved about writing about the technology industry is the fact that there’s always something new to report on, analyze and discuss. There’s barely been a day since I started writing for CI in January 2011 where I haven’t learned something or seen something I’ve never seen before.
But it seems like lately there’s been more of an emphasis on rolling out the next generation of products in the immediate aftermath of a new product release.
Maybe it’s the Apple mentality, where people will find any reason they can to replace their phones or tablets as soon as a new one comes out, whether their current device works fine and meets their needs. Or maybe it’s just the natural cycle of innovation being accelerated faster than ever before.
The Next Big Thing…Then the Next Bigger Thing
This topic was a focus of this week’s Christie media day, a rare event that brought some of the industry’s brightest minds—and me—together to talk about some of the big issues in the industry and learn from each other about the AV industry, the people who are part of it and what its future may hold.
“You have to meet the needs of the market but also create future possibilities too,” says Larry Paul, executive director of technology and customer solutions for Christie. “Sometimes it takes a visionary—someone dreaming of what’s possible.”
Christie engineers are generally pretty aggressive and forward-thinking when it comes to thinking about new ways to captivate audiences of all types and sizes—“We see the world as a canvas and like to think we can put pixels anywhere,” says VP of engineering Mike Esch—so it’s no shock they’re already thinking about how to perfect 8K, 16K and who knows what else while 4K struggles to be embraced.
But I do think there’s something to the notion that customers don’t always know whether it’s worth it for them to invest in the next greatest technology when they know another one is coming just around the corner and their big investment may be outdated or obsolete by the time it’s installed.
This is not a call to end innovation or to dampen creativity, because the AV industry features some of the smartest, most creative people I’ve ever met. But, just like how it’s better to get a story right than to get it first in my profession, the same can be said in the AV technology world.
Sure, it’s feels great to get a scoop or to be the first company to roll out the next hot AV technology, but it’s too bad we can’t give the current technology time to be consumed, understood and adopted by the masses before moving on to the next one.