The Internet of Things (IoT) and the AV industry are inextricably entwined. Many IoT devices feature AV functionality and AV hardware enjoys an unprecedented level of connectivity because of it. As new collaboration solutions challenge the boundaries of the communications industry, there is a need for many businesses to upgrade their AV systems to maintain a high quality IoT experience.
Why IoT Matters In Business
AV integrators and MSPs need to know the same basic facts about the IoT— that businesses will invest in the solutions that provide the most value. If you can demonstrate how improved and integrated microphones, displays, sensors, and sound systems translate to the bottom line and how MSPs are able to offer efficiency and support, a business will recognize the benefit of adoption as part of their digital strategy. Ultimately, if AV integrators and MSPs fail to fill the void in user experience needs, subpar IoT device solutions may achieve a competitive edge despite their inferior quality.
You don’t have to look far to see of how the IoT is being used to improve businesses. For example, Harley Davidson connected its manufacturing equipment to streamline efficiency. UPS uses sensors to manage its environment footprint. John Deere employs sensors to monitor field conditions, and businesses across all industries use digital signage, emergency notification systems, and other AV systems to keep employees connected on the floor. The IoT touches or will touch nearly every aspect of the AV industry, making it easy to see that AV integrators can capitalize on IoT and connectivity to streamline all user experiences.
To adopt an IoT approach, AV integrators and MSPs must focus on security and connected devices. AV equipment must facilitate data collection, computing, and real time monitoring efforts. Security weighs heavily in the connection between MSPs and the IoT. A provider who understands vulnerabilities and offers remote monitoring services can help end users protect sensitive data from cyber-attacks.
Use Infrastructure To Enhance IoT Success
With a clear understanding of the role AV plays in IoT environments, AV integrators and service providers can focus on implementing infrastructure designed with IoT devices in mind. To prepare for current and future IoT needs, here are just a few things to consider:
- Standard updates. To manage a future of unlimited connectivity, professionals must understand and use the IPv6 standard. For the past two years, businesses have been switching to the new protocol as a replacement for the now-obsolete IPv4 standard.
- Connectivity options. Connected devices must connect to systems appropriately in order to provide value. In other words, a data aggregating sensor may not offer useful information if it can only communicate with another device in the field. Instead, it needs to communicate with a gateway system or the cloud. It’s important to match equipment to the case use to ensure interoperability and data handling success.
- Flexible wireless and wired solutions. As wireless solutions evolve as part of the standard in connectivity, AV solutions that require wired support can still maximize connective capabilities. Smart solutions include the use of Power over Ethernet (PoE) systems to minimize cabling used in data and power connections.
- Evolving AV standards. Competition is fierce in a world where many devices offer audiovisual support in some capacity. To offer enterprise level equipment and support, professionals must adhere to the latest standards in data compression, performance verification, and energy management.
- IT crossovers. The AV industry requires more than equipment knowledge and support today. Integrators and MSPs must understand how AV equipment and IoT devices connect to the network, consider security at every end point, and streamline connections to optimize the user experience.
The future of business is connectivity among people, places, and things. Many service industries must leave the silo of specific product support behind and embrace the potential in an interconnected world. The AV industry must demonstrate agility to offer value in an IoT driven world.
This article was first published on HB Communications.
Lisa is the marketing manager at HB Communications, among the largest and most innovative Audiovisual System Integrators in North America. HB designs, builds, and supports audiovisual communication environments for organizations around the world.