The Industry Reacts to AVoIP Arguments

Published: July 31, 2019

There was a lot of posturing around AV-over-IP and AVoIP arguments leading into InfoComm 2019, and with good reason. You didn’t have to be Kreskin to predict that, after gaining serious steam in the AV integration community over the past few years, AVoIP would be an extremely hot topic at the 2019 show in Orlando, Fla.

Indeed, it was with many manufacturers and platform providers vying for a seat at the AV-over-IP table. It’s quite a change from a few years ago when AV integrators seemed to keep AV-over-IP at arm’s length.

Now the IT department influence on their customers’ tech decision process seems to be pushing forward the acceptance of AVoIP.

At least, that’s what it looks like.

We asked solutions providers if they perceive AV-over-IP as reaching an inflection point in 2019. Here’s what some said:

Brandon White, director of new product development, Vanco International:

“AV-over-IP has been an emerging trend for the last few years and it continues to gain ground as manufacturers and integrators realize its benefits. Unlike non-networked point-to-point and multi-point solutions, AV-over-IP gives integrators the ability to manage, transmit, and receive audio/video signals and control hundreds of devices over a local network. It also offers full HD capabilities with virtually no latency, as well as easy management of multi-point installations.

“With AV-over-IP integrators also benefit from flexibility and nearly limitless expandability in AV systems – something that wasn’t even conceivable in the past and another major reason why AV-over-IP has been gaining traction.

“Vanco’s Evolution EVO-IP HDMI over IP System does all of the above while also being fully customizable, easy to design, integrate and install. It transmits nearly lossless 4K@60Hz, 4:4:4, HDR, HDCP 2.2 video, audio, and IR/RS232 control and can be used as a point-to-point, splitter, switch, matrix and/or video wall solution.”

Mark Templeton, VP of U.S. Southwest, Harman International:

“I absolutely believe we’ve reached that point. We faced the innovation portion of the adoption curve and now we’re well into the early adoption phase. A lot of that’s driven by IT taking a more active role in AV solution selection and AV procurement. Some of the fears a lot of the integration community had about IT-based technology are a thing of the past and people are embracing it.”

“With the onset of HD and Ultra HD video, AV-over-IP will continue to progress due to the inherent ability of Ethernet-based cabling to transmit more data faster with less delay, which ultimately improves video and audio signal quality.

“The use of IP and Ethernet also allows for powering devices and sending audio, video and control signals over a single cable; enables centralized control from any location; and significantly reduces both CAPEX and OPEX due to easier installation, the ability to leverage existing LAN infrastructure and overall better scalability for future expansion.

Dave Valentukonis, North America Technical Services Manager, Siemon:

“As a result of remote powering, the transition to IP is not limited to AV, but includes other technologies such as security, building automation and even traditionally AC-powered devices such as lighting. As AV vendors and integrators embrace the shift to AV-over-IP and growth continues, education surrounding Ethernet switching and the importance of related application and structured cabling standards, as well as best design and installation practices, will be imperative to successful deployment.”

“The convergence of AV and IT has been going on for quite some time, and simply put, it is the timely convergence of product accessibility and a high degree of networking understanding and confidence with integrators that has allowed the level of expansion and adoption of AV-over-IP to occur.

“There is no doubt that IP networks are both ubiquitous and necessary as they are the arteries that carry nearly all the data we consume; AV now included. Technology for allowing AV access to these networks has become easy to acquire by hardware and solutions providers, giving integrators a plethora of products to choose from that will suit their exacting needs.

Jason Fitzgerald, Product Manager, AV Distribution, Nortek Security & Control:

“IP infrastructures have become more reliant than ever to host the control systems that are needed to manage AV equip-ment, and so the networking knowledge among integrators has become stronger than ever, making the transition to AV-over-IP an easy choice. The IP network is the single medium that mixes together the extension, switching, splitting, matrixing, and conversion ‘pillars’ needed for successful AV management, and everyone has taken notice.”

“Is the word ‘adoption’ or ‘acceptance’ applicable when it comes to AV-over-IP? I prefer ‘adoption’ as it is an active decision. I’ve often said to customers and guests at tradeshows — and this year’s InfoComm was no different — that AV over IP convergence has happened — long ago.

The industry is waiting for adoption to take place. Then there will be big changes in system designs, and AV-over-IP product demand will rise like a hockey stick, just like the demand for AV switching products with HDMI ports back in 2006.“Adoption is growing because manufacturers are responding to what customers want. Atlona is seeing success and growth with our OmniStream networked AV and Velocity Control over IP platforms because we recognize the needs.

Garth Lobban, Director of Marketing, Atlona:

“IT professionals want systems that they can trust to work on existing data infrastructure and won’t overwhelm the network. AV professionals want systems that behave operationally like what AV professionals are used to having with conventional designs — with analogous feature sets and are easy to set up, manage, and troubleshoot. Users, instructors, and presenters want systems that ‘just work’ — no one knows or really cares it’s an AV-over-IP system, it just needs to work without hassles.”

“The growth of AV-over-IP has been notable for several years but there’s no question that it’s now hitting its stride as enterprises adopt AV-over-IP at scale. Core infrastructure has been getting less expensive, more and more business applications are visual in nature.

“An important opportunity goes hand in hand with the rise of AV-over-IP: the whole world of IP technology is now suddenly making itself available to AV pros: software, data centers, PC and server infrastructure. Leveraging these opportunities is an import-ant benefit to customers who migrate into AV-over-IP, and AV pros need to be ready to take advantage of them in how they distribute AV content.”

Daniel Griffin, VP of Marketing, Userful Corporation:

“An additional trend worth noting is that out of the mix of 1. proprietary hardware-based AV-over-IP; 2. standards hardware-based AV-over-IP; and 3. software-based AV-over-IP, a series of standards initiatives have emerged that are competing for dominance in the Pro AV world.

“Our view is that existing standards from the IP world will win the day — they have the momentum of the entire IT industry behind them, and they are being increasingly applied to pro AV needs. This is why companies like Zoom and Userful are doing so well and experiencing such strong growth.”

Josh Rush, VP of Marketing and Product Management, Audinate:

“To say AV-over-IP has now reached an inflection point is absolutely accurate. At Audinate we’ve seen this moment build throughout the first half of 2019 thanks both to the response we’ve received to Dante AV — which adds video to the Dante offering — and through the continued adoption of Dante. Dante is now in more than 2,000 products, meaning the demand to move AV to the network continues to grow.

“We absolutely expect AVoIP will continue to gain traction throughout the end of the year. The reason: integrators are increasingly finding true value for themselves and their clients through the IT approach to AV. It’s saving the integrator time and money on installations — which in turn saves their clients money and allows for more encompassing projects. The complexity has been lowered to the point of plug-and-play — which enables scalability. The management of these solutions is now more robust and allows for increasing amounts of observability into the AV system and the network — a great benefit to organizations of all size.

“We’ve exited the early adoption era of AVoIP. Integrators and end users see the value. In turn we will see manufacturers continue to integrate the highest performing standards into their products to ensure AV solutions work across all standard networks.”

Alexandra Mehat, Product Marketing Director of SMB, Netgear:

“AV-over-IP is a fast-growing market and the millions of AV ports now running on HDMI are rapidly transitioning to IP for more flexibility, scalability and advanced applications. Around 20% of the market has already transitioned to AV-over-IP and we think 2019 will see this number increasing to a third of the market fast, mainly driven by verticals such as health care, residential AV and the drive for high-quality, real-time 4K.

“There is far more potential for innovation, with IP-based Pro AV becoming available — and affordable — to a far wider audience. We are estimating that the market will be evenly split between Gigabit and 10Gigabit for a plethora of applications ranging from retail video signage to corporate display walls or board rooms, airport displays, 4K movie theaters, surgical rooms or even audio-over-IP applications. Netgear is proud to be part of this AV revolution and make AV more powerful yet more simple with our preconfigured AV-over-IP M4300 family of networking switches. Creating AV networks now becomes faster, more affordable and easier, as we have been demonstrating many times for our AV clients globally.”

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