Working together works better. AV meets IT

It used to be so simple. You plugged one thing into another thing, and if those things were intended to work together, then they did. Or at least most times they did. In a pre-IP, analog world, once you knew the boundaries and conventions of your own tech, you knew, more-or-less, all you needed to know.

But AV over IP is changing all that. And it doesn’t just change how one thing connects to another, it’s changing how people connect too. A cultural change in the way AV companies work that has the potential to be as significant as any we have seen.

We can’t do that anymore.

When AV was an outsider, and in complete control of source and signal, it had little need to communicate what it was doing in any detail to anyone. But we can’t do that anymore, not now the AV train is traveling on IP’s tracks.

Is that a problem? Well, it really needn’t be. The destination of both parties – a zero-latency, artifact-free transmission experience, and a nice quiet help desk – is the same. It’s the choice of route that can sometimes lead to things going astray – simply because the AV side is following an AV map, while IT’s shows IT at the center of its world.

A common route to a shared objective.

Initiatives like SDVoE change this because – aside from the technical advantages – SDVoE gives everyone a common route to a shared objective. That’s half the battle won before you’ve even set out – AV changes from an exotic interloper asking a network manager to unquestioningly plug a mysterious black box into their carefully managed network, to a professional equal with an understanding of the problems – and who uses a shared language to solve them.

Simple things, like explaining at the outset that AV is happiest with fixed IP addresses – for many of the same reasons that servers are – instantly makes this a conversation that tells them they’re in safe hands and that their mission-critical asset isn’t about to be compromised.

Consider a network manager today.

And consider a network manager today looking at the supply chain disruptions caused by Coronavirus and being asked hard questions about the future integrity of their network. Being told that more than 50 manufacturers now adhere to the SDVoE standard and no longer sit in their own proprietary bubbles must bring some comfort. Not only that off-the-shelf substitutions from a wide range of vendors are available, but that modern AV really does understand IT’s concerns.

AV has always been an industry of partnerships, whether working with architects and interior designers or acoustics engineers and facilities managers.  The new relationship with IT needs to be a little closer, but if AV approaches it with the same innovative and collaborative attitude – and above all with open sympathy for IT’s unique aims and challenges – it could be the strongest and most productive yet.