Spotlight on InfoComm 2019


The Race Toward a Unified Presence: Where Is Technology Headed?

The industry is constantly attempting to identify, explain and predict which technologies will be adapted by consumers, and InfoComm 2016 revealed plenty of insight as to where technology and the integration industry is headed.

George Tucker

The search for a grand unified theory of moving bodies (i.e. physics) has been a long standing conundrum.

Ever since good ole Albert’s Special Relativity smacked-full frontal faced- into the findings of Rutherford and Royds there has been a scramble to make them match.  See, the physics of how great bodies like planets and those of sub-atomic particles move should be the same.  Trouble is, they do not. A conundrum indeed.

One possible resolution is the concept, (in part developed and championed by ISE2016 keynote speaker Dr Micho Kaku), of a twelve dimensional universe. The math does not dictate just how large, (or small), these dimensions need to be, we could be inside of it or most could be the size of a Strange Quark.

These dimensions make up the physical universe, our existence.

A Unified View

In the audio visual and electronics world, we have a similar theory called Unified Theory of Acceptance and use of Technology (UTAUT). The official description is of “User acceptance of information technology: Toward a unified view”. It is an attempt to identify, explain and, in the end, predict, which technologies will be adapted by consumers.

The electronics industry, and this includes the integration world, is engaging in a race toward a unified presence. Only a short time ago, the consumer electronics were but an occasional aberration, a special request add by the CEO. This all changed at InfoComm 2013 where every booth showed or promised to show a connected app which worked with the linen fresh scented folks of Cupertino. 

It was, frankly, madness. The show was less about what something did than what it had an app for. On a good note it put a serious tamper on the whole 3-D psychotic reactions the industry was having.

The Prophecy of Prosumer

Many can point to an earlier moment when the Pro and ‘Home Recording’ technologies began to feel the stress of products which the average musician or band could afford to own.

Suddenly, Pro consoles and outboard gear began to include consumer connectors and signal levels. The term Prosumer became marketing calling card and way to produce horizontal growth.

The industry adapted, albeit with a trimming of pro studios and a labor force cast out. It changed how music was produced and eventually distributed.

Populist Promises

At Infocomm 2016, the signs that our industry is merging and transforming again has begun to show in more subtle ways.  The inclusion of consumer software and connection to consumer devices is the new normal.

The new populist push to generate more software that runs via a mobile device can be a boon, introducing more prospective clients to the possibilities. There’s trouble in this premise for an industry which bills itself as sturdy and reliable infrastructures. Startup products tend to be more about the new cool and inrush to possess new market share.

The super feature rich products garner popularity but often at the cost of reliability. We rely on the mean average to failure ratios of hardware and software and the support of the manufacturers. Apps are designed with limited support, limited, if at all, contact to the company. 

It is a game of weighing the options, one that we are diving headlong into.

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