Are We There Yet?

By Ron DeVoe
Successful Sales Consulting

ron_devoe_arewethereyet2-0515 “Are we there yet?” is a repeated question that was seen on an episode of The Simpsons brought a knowing nod from everyone who has chauffeured children on long trips. “Are we there yet?” is a question that can be applied to many areas, because it indicates a journey and a final destination somewhere in the distance.

As a lifetime traveler on the AV journey, throughout the years, technologies have developed that gave a sense of arrival to AV utopia. I was a K-12 student in the ’50s to late ’60s. I never became part of the elite members of the AV club. Little did I know at that time that I would make a career of dabbling with AV equipment. During that time 16 millimeter, filmstrip-based, opaque and overhead projectors were dominant. Record players would give an audible ding to alert the instructor to move the filmstrip. With these great projectors, black boards and flip charts were still state-of-the-art. I did not think at time that we, the AV world, were there yet.

In the early ’70s, the use of silent sync tones began operating slide and filmstrip projectors. Products such as the Micromatic II and the Caramate and Ringmaster awed the audience. New words like Betamax and VHS became a part of our vocabulary. Video opened countless opportunities for education, training and entertainment and we wondered if we were finally there.

ron_devoe_arewethereyet-0515The late ’70s and early ’80s introduced the large multi-image shows that utilized a four-track stereo reel to reel for huge sound along with a thousand slide projectors and the capture and use of Doves and Eagles. Slide projectors were suddenly being advanced with what had once been a garage door opener. VCRs became commonplace at work and at home. There was some talk about more people using computers. The AV industry responded with three gun projectors to display data images and interfaces to facilitate connectivity. The patience and the eyesight of the techs that tweaked these projectors were greatly challenged. Panels were placed on overhead projectors for data display. This talk was frightening, but we felt that technology had finally arrived. Were we there yet?

In the ’90s, the computer became a mainstay in every part of our lives. Portable projectors that could display both data and video created a rapid growth in AV users. Audio conferencing and audio graphic conferencing helped communication expand. Video conferencing was a possibility. Digital became a word no longer associated with fingers. Off in the distance there was the slow moving IT glacier. We knew it was coming, but the AV world did not want it to get here yet.

At the turn of the century, sophisticated integrated systems grew. One’s vocabulary had to include H dot standards, apps, HTML; IP codecs became affordable and distance learning and video conferencing were prevalent. The IT glacier moved closer, but it wasn’t here yet.

Here we are today with everyone carrying a mobile device that connects, directs and entertains. Literally, the AV world is within our fingertips. HDMI, HDbaseT, BYOD, UC, 4K/8K are the necessary buzzwords in today’s AV vernacular. We have replaced copper with the cloud. That IT glacier, which is very much here has already overrun the slow adopters. Ease of use, ease of connectivity and ease of integration has us close. However, as technology has taken us so far in our journey, just remember the ding of the record player to be reminded that we are not there yet.