Networked audio – the key to establishing unified communications?
With the continuing advancement in digital technology in office spaces, networked audio remains key to establishing unified communications and improving decision-making and collaboration in the global workplace.
Video and audio conferencing has advanced hugely in recent years, moving away from hardware products towards software solutions such as Zoom and Skype for Business - offering cost savings and greater flexibility, along with user experiences which are satisfactory, but limited if the audio hardware isn’t quite up to the job.
With companies investing heavily in conferencing systems, rather than sending employees out on business meetings, the need for both AV and IT departments to understand each other’s world has never been as important as it is in today’s economic climate.
Networked audio is still a relatively new discipline for IT departments, who have previously experienced fewer digital media platforms, such as digital signage IPTV and video conferencing, sitting on their networks.
This, along with the continued advancement and growth of networked AV technologies and a general increase in the number of rooms and spaces that audio can now be delivered to within an organisation can create its own challenges for IT professionals. One of the biggest challenges being the reassurance that everything can sit on the network without affecting central services.
With cybercrime and data breaches on the rise within the UK, security must play a key part in building an audio network. Unsurprisingly, AV professionals are spending more time working closely with IT departments for technology approvals and security testing, providing White Paper assurances and working with manufacturers to ensure that the technology won’t compromise their network security.
Another key concern for IT departments is the actual impact of networked services. AV departments need to work closely to plan network routines, making sure to mitigate risks to existing services whilst supporting a successful AV deployment.
Until recently, specialists within digital signage, or conferencing, worked independently of IT departments to understand their own network requirements. However – with the increase of services across a client network, integrating with a clients’ own network services – a new breed of network architects is emerging who can take a holistic view of a customer’s estate.
This helps and bring all services together, guiding them through the best ways of planning and integrating requirements.
Along with the need for AV and IT to be well versed in each other’s worlds, more companies are deploying globally recognised standards. Technology companies and financial institutions are implementing these standards at scale, across the globe, creating a platform for AV solutions that can be integrated in any meeting room.
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