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2016 Predictions: Trends and Technologies to Watch

Audiovisual December 22, 2015

2015 was a big year for the Internet of Things, millennials, and workplace transformation. Which of these topics will continue to surface in AV discussions next year and what emerging trends and technologies are on the horizon? Brad Sousa and Dave Hatz weigh in on 10 Technologies and Trends to Watch in 2016.

Internet of Things

There’s no denying the momentum behind the IoT movement. 2015 was a pivotal year for advancing audio visual solutions into the IoT discussion and bringing the concept to the forefront of people’s minds. In 2016, IoT will continue to mature. Experiences on the consumer side will bring much needed attention to security on the commercial side of IoT projects, making 2016 a year of greater awareness for security issues. We will also see an increase in management platforms that will bring stability and reliability to IoT, which is critical for widespread adoption.

Hot-Desking and Shared Spaces

Huddle rooms have dominated space-planning and design discussions and will continue to do so next year. But keep an eye on the growing number of nontraditional workspace designs for hot-desking, hoteling, and co-working. Large enterprises are embracing these concepts because they help them use space more effectively. In 2016, watch for an uptick in small and midsize companies creatively reworking the space they have to include open work spaces as well as huddle spaces.

USB Type C Connector

This connector will change the way we do things. It provides USB data transfer as well as video and audio signal distribution and power. With USB Type C, we could end up with systems that literally have one connector. It could potentially replace the HDMI. In 2016, we expect USB Type C connectors to appear on PC manufacturer roadmaps (if not actual products). This will change the computer world and thus the AV industry. Put this technology on your watch list.

Huddle Room Technology

These spaces are typically outfitted with simple technology. In 2016, we believe we’ll see a shift toward adding more sophistication to the room but in a way that isn’t necessarily exposed to the end user. The spaces will gain additional features, but the room technology will remain extremely easy to use. There will be more automation behind the scenes and more capabilities, but to the user it won’t feel like a more complex system.

The Millennial Influence

We need to consider millennials when we design and select technology. They have ideas that will change how we work, and companies are putting more emphasis on looking at how their workforce does things best. In 2016, we’re going see more flexible work hours and work locations as well as investments in technology that support these changes. Businesses will make the experience of the workplace a priority–not just for millennials but for every other generation as well. Not tired of hearing about millennials? Check out our number 7.

Video Streaming over IP Networks

We’ve talked about this for a few years, and 2015 was the year we really started to see this technology gain traction. In 2016, we’re going to start to see more manufacturers focusing on IP streaming products. The Holy Grail for streaming is high-quality, low-latency delivery and the lowest bandwidth to get there. The challenge of understanding IP streaming and when to use it may not be solved in 2016, but watch for IP streaming to get a lot of attention next year.

The Year of the API

Millennials continue to be the predominant consumer of collaborative technologies and continue to evolve into the decision makers. Their influence will impact how technologies are developed and purchased. Baby boomers look at their phones and say, “I can make a call with this.” Gen X looks at their phones and say, “I can make a call and browse the web with this.” Millennials look at their phone and say, “How do I make this technology align to me personally?” The way you can align technology today with the way a millennial wants to consume it is through an API. It’s not about the application, it’s about the consumption. And it’s really not about the technology anymore. That’s why 2016 will be the year of the API.

BYOD and Mobility Solutions

It used to be that video conferences occurred between teams. But now meetings are between teams and any number of remote individual participants. And meeting participants are increasingly using their mobile devices (tablets, smartphones) both as content-sharing devices and as video initiation devices. Supporting these use cases requires creative solutions because there are still challenges and capability gaps with current options. We believe we’ll see significant attempts to solve these challenges in 2016.

Big Data Meets AV

As more and more of the conference rooms and collaboration technologies fall under IT, we are starting to follow the IT model for technology refreshes and updates. CIOs and VPs of IT want to look at metrics and measure the impact of video and collaboration spending so they can defend the investment. Room reservation platforms can generate data about room usage, participants, and technology used. Cameras with facial recognition software can count how many people are in the room. In 2016, we believe we’ll not only be able to count number of people in the room, but we’ll be able to compare to the images in an active directory file to tell you who was in the room. Data, reporting, and analytics are an absolute requirement for any enterprise and that will bring big data into more AV discussions.

Workflows Dictate Technology Purchases

In 2016, conversations are going to center on workflows and how people accomplish tasks. Workflows will dictate how technology is consumed. This shift will have a ripple effect on how technology is sold and created.

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