The links between the Internet of Things (IoT) and AV cannot be ignored. Communication and connectivity at home and at work happen through ever-evolving connectivity and audio/video technologies. Smartwatches, alarm systems, temperature control systems, lighting, video display units, computers – all are becoming interconnected and having a profound impact on the AV industry.
Our access to these points of communication and connectivity are becoming more ubiquitous as the Internet of Things continues to progress. With all this in mind, what do AV pros need to know about IoT to best serve clients? Let’s take a look.
Building the Right Infrastructure
Having AV as such an integral component of IoT means having the right infrastructure in place. You have a role to play in working with clients so they understand these infrastructure requirements as they relate to AV integration.
When the IPv6 standard was put in place in 2017, the potential for unlimited IP addresses cleared the way for every and all devices to be potentially connected via IoT. To manage a future of unlimited connectivity, professionals must understand and use the IPv6 standard in order to meet client demands.
Beyond that, connected devices must connect to systems appropriately in order to provide value. Better interoperability depends on devices being connected in the optimal way for the use they were intended. More and more, this means connectivity via a cloud-based service.
Cabling will still be required in some AV applications, but you can work to minimize the impact of any systems “tethered” via cabling. Wireless is becoming more the expectation and the norm, so solutions that include systems such as Power over Ethernet (PoE) should be incorporated into AV integration plans.
And just like the devices around you, keep learning. Be well-versed in new developments in the intersection between IoT and AV. Understand and comply with the latest standards in data compression, performance verification, and energy management, in order to serve your clients and be a trusted resource for them.
IoT and AV are beginning to interact in the workplace in ways that are pretty amazing. Imagine you are at work, wearing a smartwatch, which notifies you of a video conference meeting you’ve got to get across campus. You can navigate to the meeting from your phone or watch, and hop in on the meeting from either device as you make your way there, so you’re not missing a beat. Your colleagues in the meeting are having the same experience. Meanwhile, the conference room has literally set itself up, dimming lights and turning on the video display in preparation to connect with colleagues and the client attending the meeting remotely.
When the tools of your workplace anticipate your needs in this way, it is called ambient computing. Machine learning happens as systems within an environment “learn” and respond to user behaviors and patterns. In this way, immersive experiences in the workplace will be less about entertaining and more about ease of workflow.
AV and IoT are beginning to work in sync in this way, as rooms and devices begin to learn from how people come and go, activities they do in a room, etc. Lighting, room temp, and AV functions will be guided by this ambient computing.
Data collected through IoT interaction can also help in the larger context of workflow. IoT is helping to allocate AV and other business resources. Is one conference room getting used more than others? Are huddle spaces being underutilized? How are employees employing the video conferencing capabilities in a given building? IoT can help gather data to make work run more smoothly and allocate resources more efficiently.
Having this kind of information in hand will be invaluable to you and your clients. It will help you design spaces and installations you are currently working on, and provide clear guidance for rolling out future expansion projects as a company grows and as IoT continues to advance.