Networks at the centre of IT’s importance at ISE

it_lowISE is proving to be an ever-attractive destination for IT professionals – all the way from CIOs through vendors to IT integrators and resellers. Why? The one word answer is ‘networks’. Historically, audiovisual was something of an island of technology within the average business. It was all about projectors and screens and audio systems – all existing quite happily on their own. AV technology is now, for the most part, a network-centric technology.

Ethernet and IP are no less pervasive in audiovisual applications than they are in the corporate communications world as audio over IP and video over IP has progressively displaced earlier technologies. But AV applications aren’t just ‘relying’ on the corporate network as some kind of handy piece of cable – they’re becoming increasingly integrated within it. Think digital signage or unified communications, for example.

For many in the IT world, that integration has become a source of concern, for two key reasons.

The first is that, by definition, audio and video can be significant consumers of network bandwidth. Organisations were already provisioning for the growing amount of multimedia being streamed by users to their desks. But, increasingly it seemed, AV applications wanted even more of a scarce and costly resource that could, left unchecked, or unplanned for, potentially overwhelm the network.

The second is security, perhaps the typical organisation’s primary network concern. Embracing AV applications means, typically, more users in less controlled environments. Ensuring accessibility and ease of use to these users while maintaining appropriate safeguards is a significant potential challenge for the IT team.

Most IT professionals see audiovisual applications as, for the most part, highly specialist. Vendors of AV equipment and integrators of AV solutions bring unique experience and expertise to these projects. In the past, those vendors and in- tegrators may have been nervous about the role of IT within the AV industry, and what they perceived as some kind of potential ‘land grab’ of territory that was once exclusively theirs. That’s changed. Now, those AV companies understand how their skills are highly complementary to those of their customers’ IT organisations. A healthy mutual respect has emerged.

IT professionals will be coming to ISE 2017 in ever greater numbers than before because AV is no longer something they can afford to ignore.