AV and IT convergence essentially means transporting three different types of systems—audio, video and data through IT data networks. This convergence of these two disciplines, which have till now lived and ruled in silos, is bound to lead to challenges.
Can there be a way to convert these conflicts into more meaningful conversation to ensure a concerted effort at establishing success in business?
Marrying AV and IT
Cohabitation between AV and IT requires understanding the basics that are involved. The AV-IT convergence involves two key aspects, infrastructure and systems. The converged systems include control units that are capable of handling multiple inputs, replacing traditional architecture where each system is separately monitored and managed. The converged AV-IT system has experienced infrastructure changes as well. Unlike traditional cables and wires it now supports a single unified cable shared with the data network. This ensures greater flexibility to AV systems as they are now better equipped to upgrade when required.. This eliminates the need to bear expenses of system-specific cabling as additions can be done in a more seamless manner.
Better Control with One Shared System
Convergence, in addition to simplifying upgrades, also handles integration issues easily. Moreover, converged environments rely heavily on the effectiveness of shared communication tracks and switching equipment. They are not insular like their predecessors and require a holistic approach in order to be appropriately implemented. The centralized nature of the systems allows administrators improved ability to maneuver within this single infrastructure, and gives them much more control to operate and make any changes, big or small.
AV and IT Departments Need to Coordinate Efforts
Given the deeply integrated nature of the converged environment, it is therefore essential that a coordinated approach is adopted between the AV and IT departments. The complexity of the system makes it necessary to have effective software and control units in place. This makes it even more important to have well-coordinated efforts between AV and IT professionals in the organization.
While the increasing shift towards a converged environment has initiated a dialogue between the two groups IT is focused on network security and connectivity, while the AV group expects IT to concentrate on areas such as remote monitoring and management of AV components and how best these components can be made to fit into the organization’s other platforms, notably the UC.
Key Points to Consider in AV/IT Collaboration
The relationship between AV and IT, therefore, should include four primary areas in order to define the roadmap for an effective and efficient converged environment.
- Implementation and utilization of network connections.
- Establishing control procedures and monitoring parameters to manage devices.
- Enabling technology to communicate effectively with users.
- Understanding the significance and operational limits for content to be used.
While expertise exists on both sides of the divide, it is the sharing of this expertise that will help to eliminate the divide and ensure a holistic approach. Subcontracting or training may prove to be a viable option to make sure the collaboration works successfully. Although, the team needs to work on the customer’s schedule so training sessions may be an option.
The key to a successful AV/IT convergence is to view it as a business process and not just technology. Both AV and IT need to come to a consensus on the need to converge. They also need to identify the ideal ways to learn from each other so this shared collaboration will happen in the best interest of the business.