A Recap of LAVNCH EMEA’s ProAV Control Session

Control is an AV topic that doesn’t “show” its glitz and glamor to the masses — but it’s usually the technology doing the hard work in the background. Control is a critical component to successful AV systems, and today’s LAVNCH EMEA Control Session made sure to tell that story.

Read on for the session recap.


Leading the Control Session of ProAV Collaborative Day was Jeremy Wills of Futuresource. The session, “‘Can You See Me?’ Networked Devices, AV over IP, and the Rise of Cloud-Based Monitoring & Meeting Room Control Systems,” posed a few not-so-simple questions facing the industry:

  1. How do small meeting rooms and huddle spaces fit into the WPS (wireless presentation system) and VC (videoconferencing)? When and what features need to be included for customers?
  2. When are AV managed services needed, and when should manged services move from CapEx (capital expenditures) to OpEx (operating expenditures)? Where does control hardware fit into the AVaaS (AV-as-a-Service) model?
  3. What impact has the first eight months of 2020 had on the signal distribution, remote monitoring and room control sectors? Which changes are positive and negative?

Wills’ breakdown of the market forecast in global video distribution:

Forecasts in AV control

While the majority of solutions currently come from non-IP extension ports (i.e., the matrix switch), IP extension technologies (i.e., AV-over-IP) are set to grow and account for more than 20% of global video volumes (a predicted 3% growth) by 2023. Wills points out that AV-over-IP has gained most traction in the Americas, but it’s growing in the EMEA and APAC regions too.

Some additional call-outs of trends in the control space:

  • Meeting room control — convergence with VC/WPS: Meeting room control is quite saturated in the market as smaller meeting rooms and huddle spaces are driving demand for lower-cost solutions. A renewed focus on end users is driving down cost.
  • AV managed services (AVMS) — adoption drivers: AV managed services are growing, with end users’ key desires including reduced time to start the meeting, reduced costs per space, the want for reduced (or zero) need for skilled in-house technicians, improved uptime (e.g., reliability), and analytics to maximize usage.
  • Global AVMS revenue & meeting room penetration: AVMS global revenue — platform and services combined, mind you — will value at 50% of CAGR growth from 2019 to 2024, Futuresource expects. Wills predicts the market rising to more than $4B globally within only four more years.
  • Remote monitoring — solutions are proliferating: Remote-monitoring solutions are growing fast. Some solutions still require relevant hardware, while display vendors are open to partnering with remote management and monitoring software companies too.

EMEA control session

After the analysis from Futuresource, our knowledgeable panel gathered ’round. Guests included TJ Adams of QSC, Justin Kennington of the SDVoE Alliance, Jonathan Mangnall of Utelogy and Stijn Ooms of Crestron.

The theme: The world of networked devices is vast and can be confusing, especially when considering new and emerging technologies like AV-over-IP and cloud-based monitoring and control systems. Networked world devices — including local cloud servers, the WPS/VC crossover, PoE (Power over Ethernet), remote management, AV managed services and more — all have a role to play. One thing very much on our radar is room control systems and AV infrastructures: We’re seeing an end user desire for a single platform. So what does that mean for the channel?

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Mangnall started, “We don’t see control as being a problem that most organizations have these days. … But we do see that organizations are moving away from proprietary systems.” This also means moving to systems that are more standards-based.

Adding onto this, Ooms argued, “The IT team is used to open platforms, so we in the AV industry have to move onto that. … It’s not scalable how AV has been doing it the past 20 years.”

Cost and scale will be a real factor here too, Mangnall pointed out: “It’s far too expensive to install, to maintain, to upgrade and update AV. … It’s just got to be simple and easy to support and maintain.”

Part of the whole topic on what’s proprietary and what’s not gets blurry, Adams transitioned. “It’s sort of a blessing and a curse. A lot of end users want to standardize. … AV-over-IP has really shown well to the IT folks in that regard…,” he said.

Justin Kennington added onto Adams’ claim around fuzziness of “what does proprietary really mean?” If you look outside of AV and look at the popular world of home automation, you could look at solutions as “platforms” — take Alexa or Google Home. These are large software platforms/frameworks first, and when you look inside, you’ll find varying technologies and feature sets within them, Kennington explained.

“The final evolution of technology systems is into software,” Kennington noted. “We’re only just figuring that out in AV land. … [It’s like] a cell phone … do you want an iPhone or do you want an Android? That is 100% a software platform decision that you’re making first.”

Today’s control session brought forward many considerations in signal distribution, remote monitoring and room control. As we emerge at varying stages from COVID-19 lockdowns across the EMEA region, the impacts will come further to light.

While adapting to the demands of both IT and end users, all this said — standardization, open APIs, managed services — Adams argued that we have to be careful as vendors not to get too focused on what IT wants, but to look at the bigger picture. Critical to all this, first, is the focus of the ProAV market to provide a first-class meeting experience.

“Everyone’s pulling in a similar direction,” Chris Mcintyre-Brown of Futuresource concluded.

If you missed ProAV Collaborative Day Wednesday and want to rewatch all the sessions, like this one, you can still register. While AVIXA CTS RUs are not available in the archives, you can still register for LAVNCH EMEA here and let us know your favorite moments from the day on social.