Forecasting Network Control Solutions and Microsoft’s Impact at InfoComm 2016

At this year’s show in Las Vegas, expect many companies to be moving towards the cloud as a control platform. When it comes to Microsoft, don’t expect them to be exhibiting solo.

Tim Albright

What will InfoComm 2016 tell us about where the industry is headed in terms of network control?

Companies like Utelogy, Global Caché, and others have started the race to the cloud as a control platform. They have had a fair amount of success especially in the higher education market. This is primarily due to the issues that arise when deploying an asset management platform across various manufacturers.

Now the mainstay control manufacturers are beginning to take note of the cloud. AMX‘s RMS has been available for some time in a cloud version. Crestron is making Fusion Cloud a real thing, and Extron will be doing the same with Global Viewer Server.

These players are seeing the advantages to supplying the software that lives at a network level to touch all the classrooms, regardless of what boxes are in those rooms. In addition, a few of them are making these pieces of software so IT-centric that we will eventually not need those magical boxes that programmers fuss over today.

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AVB makes its presence known here as well, but only as a footnote. Part of the industrial portion of the TSN/AVB standard is the ability to send control commands over the network in the TSN stream. This also gives a programmer or designer the ability to bypass a centralized control processor to talk directly to a single device, or several devices, at the same time. Again, we are taking control into the cloud and treating it as a software service.

Microsoft and More

Finally, Microsoft will be at InfoComm, it just won’t be exhibiting solo. From the AVI-SPL booth to the various mounting options and “me too” products, the impact of Microsoft finally shipping the Surface Pro Hub certainly will be felt in Las Vegas.

No, Microsoft didn’t have to spend anything for a booth to get that recognition … but the real test will be in the field once integrators start installing and end users start interacting with this magical device.

From the dry heat of the desert to the #AVTweeps party on Thursday and everything in between, this should be a great InfoComm Show overall. It will not be the year of incremental change as we have seen in years past. InfoComm 2016 will be remembered for the year a number of monumental shifts happened in the AV industry, shots fired across multiple boughs, and we all win.