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Simplicity, they say, is a virtue. AV over IP — audio-visual over internet protocol — takes the nightmare of ten different kinds of cables and connections and reduces it to one kind of cable, one kind of connection, and one kind of customer: a happy one.

What is AV Over IP? 

cord chaosTake a look at the audio-visual equipment you have around your office. Speakers, projectors, microphones, video walls; they all have to be connected to, well, something. Instead of running a cable for the conference room projector, and then other lines for the ceiling speakers, and yet more cords for the microphones, what if all of that could be replaced with one kind of cable making one kind of connection?

Running audio-visual equipment over the internet (that’s the IP of AV over IP) is easier and less labor-intensive than the traditional approach. Substituting ethernet connections for RCA jacks and other connectors, using the same kind of cabling for every piece of hardware, the result is streamlined, fast installation.

Networked AV

Internet of ThingsThe goal of AV over IP is to create products that install easily, can be maintained centrally, and are usable by just about anyone in your office. Every audio-visual device is on the network. You can run the conference room projector from any network-connected computer.

You can have, in theory, infinite control over every component. Anyone with access to the network can facilitate a meeting, establish a face-to-face conference, or record vital brainstorming. No more waiting for the IT folks to respond to pleas for help.

Buyer Beware

AV over IP is cutting-edge technology. The market is replete with new players intent on turning, for instance, their photocopiers into network devices and then leveraging them to capture your AV business, too.

sleazy sales guyWith no disrespect to the burgeoning field of new companies attempting to turn their cables and connectors into legitimate AV experience, we caution against allowing your business to be someone’s proving ground.

Everybody is Doing Everything

Knowledge of the AV sector is vital for any successful AV over IP project. With everybody suddenly “experts” at AV equipment, you need a company whose installers really know the hardware, software, and connectivity. Sure, right now, everybody is doing everything, but is everything working?

New companies will struggle to “make it fit,” or try to make everything connect to the internet. An experienced company like Unified knows better. Just hooking every scrap of hardware and software up to the internet is not a solution. You need to know what you are doing.

AV Over IP Comparison

Suppose, though, you get a quality installation from a reputable company like Unified Technology Systems. What will you see in, say, your conference room? What benefits will AV over IP offer?

time is moneyUnder the traditional format, for videoconferencing, ISDN lines would be needed. Under AV Over IP, you have no need for specialized lines. Instead, you have software-based, cloud solutions with low-impact appliances, laptops, tablets, or even cell phones. Costs have plummeted; space needs have shrunk.

In addition to traditional ISDN videoconferencing, traditional IP videoconferencing required a lot of interaction with IT regarding security such as firewall configuration. Many of the current cloud-based VTC/UC solutions require little to no firewall configuration. IT is essentially made aware that these solutions work within the framework of safe network security standards.

Look around that conference room; video is not the only improvement with AV Over IP:

  • Live sound
  • Room lighting
  • Room security (glass fogging, for example)
  • Automation
  • Projection
  • Microphones

The reduction in equipment, simplicity of control, and savings in space mean a reduction in energy costs and an increase in environmentally friendly efficiency.

Ready to Jump?

Skills Ability KnowledgeBefore leaping into AV Over IP, do your research. Work with experienced companies who already have experience with cameras, microphones, video walls, and lighting. IP is a transportation medium; it is not the end result. The end result is the seamless integration of all that technology so every presentation, every call, every videoconference rolls out flawlessly.

Work with a company with one foot in the past — with thorough knowledge of old-school technology like hardware, control systems, and software — and one foot in the future of AV Over IP.

In a field almost akin to the Wild West, your company needs to work with a company that has high AV Over IP standards. Unified Technology Systems knows the hardware, knows the intangibles of designing and installing conference rooms, and we know AV Over IP. We maintain high standards for excellence in connectivity, control, and ease of use. We pride ourselves in providing thorough customer education, even when the technology seems as simple as clicking on an icon.

To learn more about the brave new world of AV Over IP, please contact Unified Technology Systems today.

Jon Bullard

Author Jon Bullard

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