Evolution vs. Innovation: Audio Trends to Look for at InfoComm 2016

Published: May 12, 2016

The AV industry will gather at the Las Vegas Convention Center, June 8-10 (conferences and education beginning June 4), for its annual North American get together, which shifts back to Las Vegas this year after a successful 2015 at its East Coast home in Orlando, Fla.

With all the recent acquisitions, changes and rearranging the industry has experienced, there will be plenty of news heading into the convention. The real question is, what sort of technology and advances will we see coming at the InfoComm 2016 trade show?

The Network of Everything

Yes, we have converged. Can we move on now? Since early 2000 the AV community has celebrated or bemoaned the idea of combining with the IT industry. It’s happened. Let’s get to work.

Over the past six or seven years a number of technologies have risen up and fallen, with the idea of putting traditional AV transport on the network. For our purposes here in forecasting what to expect at InfoComm, let’s concentrate on audio to start. Audio is an important ingredient of any AV installation and it is also going on the network.

When it comes to audio, don’t expect anything uber-new. Yes, we have Dante and AVB (Audio Video Bridging). We have AES and other standards and protocols. What has been particularly fascinating is watching some companies go it on their own.

Take QSC Audio Products, for example. Technically, its solutions comprise an AES stream. But they are also an infrastructure unto themselves. They do not use AVB or Dante, the two more popular transports; they use QLAN.

In case you didn’t catch that, QLAN is QSC’s own brand and flavoring of transporting audio across the network. It is also the backbone of QSC’s core system of DSP processing. Look for this trend to expand at InfoComm.

Related: 10 Things You Need to Know About AVB’’ target=’_blank’>Audinate has made some interesting moves in regards to its Dante solution of transporting audio and working with others. If not at the InfoComm show, my guess is it will start down the path of large-scale API development to get streams in and out of other protocols as well. This will give the Dante platform longevity.

AVB is the AV portion of TSN (Time Sensitive Networks). The AVnu Alliance folks have some work to do when it comes to marketing, because they have so many acronyms, but the technology is solid and is becoming widely adopted.

It’s an IEEE standard that anyone can use, and manufacturers and integrators are. Automobile manufacturers are requiring their OEM suppliers to move to AVB by the end of the year. Cisco has finally released an AVB switch.

All of these things point to some significant moves for the “A” portion of AVB.

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