Despite the trying times (or perhaps because of them), the AV industry finds itself constantly evolving and thriving. Whether it is automation, touchless technologies or remote AV monitoring systems, several Enterprise AV technologies are being adapted to the changing needs of organisations. Businesses in various sectors have adopted AV technology to ensure that business processes continue to move smoothly.
As 2022 unfolds and AV solutions continue to be critical for meeting, conferencing, and functioning, let’s look at the biggest AV trends that impact and cater to the organisation’s ongoing needs and also change how teams interact. (Look back at our predictions from 2021).
Trend #1 – Mainstream shift from hardware to soft codecs
Amongst the largest impacts that we have seen in the last couple of years, has been the mainstreaming of UC platforms like Microsoft Teams, Webex across businesses at an accelerated pace. This shift – driven by the need to let teams collaborate in real-time not just via video, but using multiple paths (voice, messaging and video) in an integrated, easy-to-use and easy-to-deploy environment – has brought with it a transition from hardware codec based VC systems to soft-VC solutions.
Necessitated by the move to remote-work and hybrid-work models across the globe, the transition brings other benefits to organisations – lower costs per user, flexibility to use various types of devices and ease of management. The capex and opex impacts for organisations changes with the adoption of these systems.
The acceptance of soft-codecs has also brought about a change in the hardware choices for Enterprise meeting rooms. Teams-certified and Zoom-certified devices which now allow a “certified hardware ecosystem” are increasingly popular as they eliminate compatibility challenges. Soft VC systems also allow evolving features as they don’t require hardware upgrades to add functionality. For example, AI driven technologies, acoustic fencing and speaker tracking are now bringing greater ease of use to video calling and conferencing applications. Control is also being integrated into Soft VC systems, with a touch panel allowing lighting and AC control too.
Trend #2 – Moving from PCs to VC enabled devices in the meeting room
While BYOD has been increasingly popular in the enterprise for the last few years, the device of choice has mainly been laptops that users bring in with them for a meeting. But this is evolving quickly as other platforms for video calling are becoming more prevalent in meeting and collaboration spaces. While they continue to allow the use of laptops and other personal devices, rooms are also providing other devices that allow users to just walk in and collaborate.
Custom NUCs (small form factor PCs), Tablets (iPads) or desktop devices using the Crestron Mercury UC engine are available in-room and provide tightly integrated and rich VC capabilities to meeting participants. Features like one-touch join, scheduling and interoperability with other VC systems is leading to more open standards too.
All-in-One products (available in either a display, desktop or soundbar format) bring great ease of use for collaborators and ease of management for facilities teams. The Microsoft Surface Hub 2S is an example of this, a digital whiteboard that serves as the VC display and has microphones and speakers to allow calls in any room where it is located. The outcome of these changes is likely to be the reduced importance of laptops and PCs in the enterprise video conferencing ecosystem.
Trend #3 – The era of seamless Active LED video walls has arrived
Video walls have been around for a long time, and deployments of these displays has been increasing steadily over the last decade. Initially limited to control rooms (NOCs and SOCs), transit and transport spaces or entertainment and sports venues, they are now visible in a lot of environments as the technology has evolved and become more affordable. Retail is one of the obvious places, because of the dynamic visual communication that it allows, and the impacts this has on consumer behaviour, but video walls are becoming more commonplace in various types of enterprise applications too.
Usually deployed when a display solution that is bigger than a 98-inch flat panel is required, video walls are coming into their own with the advent of Active LED technology. They are increasingly popular in NOCs, where their flexibility in displaying different types of content in different ways is invaluable; but also in boardrooms, multi-function rooms, visitor experience centres, town hall rooms and receptions.
Now available with extremely low pixel pitch, the seamless images that these video walls can generate make them viable for a wider array of applications. They have become increasingly popular as 0.8 and 0.9 mm pixel pitch technology is more affordable than ever before, making these displays attractive when businesses are looking for a solution for more common enterprise room types like boardrooms and multi-purpose rooms.
Businesses find the flexibility that it creates in simultaneously displaying different types of content, from multiple sources and varying the display size is very handy. This is leading to their adoption not just for indoor applications, but also outdoors on the external facades of corporate buildings.
Trend #4 – Enterprise video is evolving with the advent of Studio, Broadcast and Production in-house
While video conferencing has been a key driver of enterprise video in the past – it is making inroads into many other communication applications within large organisations. The power of video as a tool to create impact, persuade, entertain and communicate more effectively is being applied to organisational interactions with other key stakeholders – media, investors, customers and also internal teams.
As a result, organisations are building the capability to create, edit, produce and broadcast video content in-house, which allows them to reduce costs and improve speed of delivery. The applications for which we are beginning to see this approach in India include LIVE scenarios like Town Halls, Investor Meetings and Employee Engagement and Entertainment events. We are also seeing video content being produced for use in Customer Experience Centers, Training and Education and Product Launches, which are high-impact applications for many large and multinational businesses.
The capabilities of these enterprise video setups can include close-to-broadcast quality, centralised remote production studios, outdoor broadcast vans for feed transmission. Features that are available to video content managers include recording and streaming, media management and content storage.
There’s more on the way…
- The adoption of AV in education has moved beyond special rooms to campus wide implementation, not just in curricular but also extracurricular student activities. Media production and broadcast is also arriving in educational institutions.
- Wireless lighting technologies are making changes to the lighting and energy management implementations and will make retrofits easier as no new wiring needs to be installed to deploy lights, shades, keypads or sensors.
- Managed AV services to support and maintain AV, Control and Lighting infrastructure are also becoming more attractive as cloud management and certified device ecosystems evolve. This allows organisations to outsource management of this infrastructure to external AV service providers.
In a rapidly changing modern work scenario, AV technologies play a key role in the functioning of a well-equipped, flexible and resilient working environment. Years of digital transformation are now leading to quick adoption of technologies that make collaboration easier for a hybrid workforce and boost employee inclusion.
Businesses are keen to cut down the overhead costs associated with setup and maintenance of the equipment. Companies having expertise in sectors other than AV cannot have a dedicated team to manage and monitor their AV equipment.
Service providers are offering managed services to deliver advanced technological solutions and enforce remote monitoring systems. Managed services also include real-time feedback using centralising networking , and total life cycle management of the products provided.
AV experts and technicians leverage their expertise to improve an organisation’s productivity by enabling AV systems to run efficiently. Partnering with a managed service provider will also be helpful in tackling issues effectively.
Businesses will benefit from lowering the running expenses and getting a better maintenance approach, by collaborating with a service provider and talking to AV integration professionals about the AV requirements.
A final word
Besides these, AV in education (campus wide curricular and extracurricular), media production and broadcast in enterprise and education markets is also a trend that is here to stay. Several managed services and wireless technologies are going to make retrofits relatively affordable and easier.