“How has the role of IT engineering changed in the past three years of AV Integration?”
AV over IT is our reality! No one with real knowledge of our industry is still talking about the convergence of AV and IT. The convergence has happened and our present day reality and future will all be based on AV over IT. Yes, there are still thousands of perfectly functional analog systems in place and working well. But as these systems break or need to be upgraded, it would be prudent to base the replacement or upgrade on an AV or IT design.
Integrators must have design engineers with IT competency. Today and going forward, our customers expect IT engineered solutions. The people to whom we often sell are IT professionals. Integrators must be able to talk their language and provide solutions that work in concert with the IT infrastructure. We really should start calling our profession AV/IT integrators. Of course, we must do more than just change the title description. We must educate not only our engineers, but also our entire outward-facing team. Digital signage is but one of the traditional AV solutions that must consider IT as the foundation of every system. Having a business justification for any digital signage Investment will still be the top priority, as will a commitment to content development and management, but to have focused on only these two critical elements and not engineer solutions based on IT considerations for connectivity, content transport and security, is to have failed the customer.
AV over IT engineering must be the integrator’s professional focus. When embracing IT, it is important to recognize how most IT professionals approach every project. This includes having IT at every critical meeting with new and existing customers. We must be prepared to answer and ask specific IT questions including, “What impact will this AV integration have on our Network?,” “How is your system design providing for security on our network?,” and “What IT resources (both people and infrastructure) are you going to expect long term?”
AV over IT is our future. Integrators are no longer connecting the dots. We are now connecting clouds.