Eye contact is important. It can be a deal-breaker in an interview. It can turn fate in your favour on a date. If you are faced with a Weeping Angel, it can be a matter of life and death. Business process bears little difference. We possess a broad spectrum of real-time interaction methods in the 21st century. These range from email and cloud-based telephony to image communication and professional social media platforms, and we do need those. Very little can compare, however, to communicating face-to-face when it comes to business activity. Despite that, the concept of industrial audio-visual apparatus often meets scepticism. Isn’t it just a big TV, employers ask. What value does it add? AV is truthfully a more complex concept than it initially appears, both in terms of presentation and communication.
The PC was long considered the dominant device in any business scenario which involved communication, presentation or data processing. As we all know, PCs have become increasingly multi-functional in recent years. We also all know, however, that PCs – particularly those in fixed stations – are high-maintenance instruments. They were frankly not designed to be the fulcrum of the modern conference room. However, that did not stop many businesses using them as such, overworking their IT departments in the process.
Industrial audio-visual technology has actually existed for a very long time, longer even than the PC in some respects. However, it retains a relative lack of presence in commercial awareness compared to the PC. This is partly because many assume that it is a sub-category of IT.
What Is Industrial Audio-Visual?
Yes, at first sight AV simply involves a massive screen. You will likely not need too lengthy a description to visualise how it will tangibly appear in the boardroom. The key issue to consider, however, is how AV replaces the standard IT systems that businesses traditionally use.
AV technology operates using a system called “conference room automation.” This refers to a user-friendly interface – a wall-mounted keypad or control panel, perhaps – which allows users to dictate multiple tasks. That system maintains all audio and visual inputs and outputs. In doing so, the system grants users complete command over how material is presented onscreen. This means that, in practice, the AV initiative supplements or replaces any PC-based presentation or video conferencing system. The interface makes content clearly and easily accessible.
Where’s The Value?
The value of industrial audio-visual is two-fold. There are the immediate benefits, and there are the future boons granted by technological advance.
The modern AV solution is network-centric, reliable, scalable, secure and standards-based. The industry has responded well to employer demands of higher performance, reliability and user-friendliness. All of these create huge value for businesses in terms of reducing operating costs, and creating greater working efficiency. Furthermore, many businesses now devote entire spaces to video conferencing – usually using Skype for Business – because they recognise the benefits of interactive collaboration. Less time is wasted in meetings; absentees may be kept in the loop. The 50% of meeting time which is wasted on average (according to a recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota), can be minimised.
Future software developments in the sector will also benefit today’s users, since those advances can be rolled out automatically through the cloud. The most sophisticated industrial audio-visual solutions of today are compatible with more than real-time video conferencing. They go further, embracing the likes of document cameras, blinds, lighting and Blu-ray. These provide an even easier, accessible way of connecting devices and delivering content to the display. Features such as “screen mirroring” now allow users to present from a tablet or smartphone. This means that whatever the device currently displays can be replicated on the big screen.
Where Would I Use It?
In terms of practical use, the industrial audio-visual solution of today is flexible. Many businesses, including modern co-working spaces, have reconstructed entire office strategies around these devices. The flexible “Town Hall” environment that characterise contemporary workplaces need a centrepiece. The screen is a perfect focal point for presentation. Moreover, room concepts such as the collaboration room and huddle space have been developed around this kind of technical innovation. Classic concepts such as the lobby, reception area and training room have been revolutionised by it.
Weaving industrial audio-visual infrastructure into the fabric of a business requires considered thought. So does any far-reaching change. However, AV reflects a more mobile, flexible and demonstrative working pattern in global commerce. It bears three essential hallmarks of office technology: consistency, clarity and efficiency. Consistent, because it allows employees to attend meetings and collaborate from wherever they are, in real time. Clear, because it provides users with a simple platform to screen content aurally and visually, straight from their own devices. Efficient, because it can be relied upon to optimise network uptime, minimise the costs of meetings, and even ensure greater energy performance. The conventional boardroom PC cannot match that offering.
Viastak work to support businesses looking to leverage technology, in order to streamline the way they operate. We believe in creating flexible, dynamic enterprises that are equipped to deal with the demands of the modern global economy. To find out more, please get in touch.