Can AV and IoT Be the New Convergence?

tech convergence

For the longest time (12-15 years?) we have been talking AV/IT convergence. Some will even refer to it as IT/AV. Why? Well, if I was to surmise I’d say that those who are may still be trying to bring validation to this concept, the merger of IT and AV where now AV takes the second player approach to IT’s dominant player. For some time now I have reasoned that the convergence is not necessarily an even merger of the technology realms, for me it should represent more of a confluence. In my mind, there hasn’t been created a fully measured industry approach to the acronym, however where AV and IT are concerned, yes they can both exist as joined entities (as in AV and IT),  but not necessarily converged as AV/IT. More to come on that in my next con·ver·gence (Part 4) blog.

A new convergence begins…?

On to the topic here. As we know the AV industry for some time now has been all abuzz about the Internet of Things. Earlier this year I wrote a blog AV -Is- Making the Comeback With IT (and IoT) where as you can see I put the Internet of Things in parentheses since for me at that time IoT was still in an exploratory phase of sorts. As most of my blog was devoted to the notion of AV and IT being a with instead of a merger converged proposition (OK maybe that’s a bit deep), the end focused on IoT and its place in the realm of AV.

The IoT keynote at InfoComm 2015 while it may not have provided many answers per se, it did open a door to future discussion and development of the notion that AV and IoT can exist as joined entities. Certain discussions at the keynote may have led to that (drones not so much at the time but keep an open mind to that as we go), however most created a wait and see and wonder thought for those that attended. I had mostly focused on Crestron CTO Fred Bargetzi’s contributions to the keynote discussion (Cisco’s Mike Walker for the security comments), and stated in the blog that I believed IoT becomes the “branch-out,” in essence the technology “extension” to AV, as IT exists as the technology “build.”

In fact we can even consider IT as AV build-out, but hold on to that thought for another blog.

Digital Signage as the door opener

I had also mentioned in this blog industry integrator Advanced AV and a blog they had recently published Digital Signage Meets the Internet of Things, discussing how IoT as many know has the potential to change every area of communication and information sharing where it’s stated that digital signage is no exception.

In July 2015, almost a month after the keynote, an article appeared in Digital Signage Today Digital signage leading the way for retail IoT where as we’d likely figure this to be the market IoT would be most tied to with AV, at least to begin with. Focusing on Cisco’s coined Internet of Everything (IoE), the article states that IoE has changed the retail landscape when it comes to the customer experience. As alluded to in the article, one of the principal endpoint solutions being utilized across that market landscape is digital signage. With this the number of endpoint solutions available combined with the IoE can help retailers make more informed decisions to tailor the customer experience. presenting a strong customer-facing tool in a retailer’s arsenal, given that t can be tailored in real-time to maximize profits.

It was specified that the use of digital signage in retail outlets, according to the International Data Corp., will grow from to $27.5 billion in 2018 for a 35.7 percent five-year CAGR, showing the increasing importance placed on digital signage and the growing interactive capabilities that this technology presents.

In a white paper (also from July of last year) provided by ComQi titled How the Internet of Things is Reinventing Retail, a section Applying IoT In Retail states that consumer demand for convenience, product availability, and both personalized and contextualized interactions will drive retailers to continue to adopt multiple IoT technologies in the years to come.

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A statement: Driven by live data devices and systems, an “aware” store can deliver smarter messaging on screens of any size. Instead of canned, pre-determined messaging, smart screens in an aware retail environment are providing shoppers deeper information about what they’re looking at, and influencing buying decisions, including up-sells.

The article goes on to talk about how Hollywood sometimes suggests dystopian futures where retailers and brands obliterate privacy and market to individuals even inside a store and discussion of IoT can certainly elevate such concerns in numerous ways, however more than concern (of which security is one) I see a whole new world of opportunity opening through digital signage and IoT. However with any discussion of IoT, security needs to be part of such discussion as well.

2016 will see new breakthroughs

According to IBM Center for Applied Insights IoT in Retail (December 2015), the following is stated which I consider to be information to be leveraged for converged AV and IoT implementation:

Leading retailers are already developing strategies and plans to leverage IoT-related technologies.

  • Nearly 96 percent of retail decision makers say they are ready to make the changes required to adopt the IoT.
  • Global spending on retail IoT initiatives is expected to grow from $14.3 billion in 2015 to $35 billion by 2020.
  • Eighty percent of retail decision makers believe IoT technologies will drastically change the way companies do business in the next three years.
  • More than 70 percent of retailers have already implemented at least one sensor-based project and are actively exploring additional IoT-related projects.
  • According to surveyed retailers, maintaining inventory accuracy in stores is the top IoT opportunity in retail.
  • Most retail associates (80 percent) agree that improving in-store communication among staff and managers would have a significant effect on shopper satisfaction.
  • Digital signage use in retail outlets will grow from $6.0 billion in 2013 to $27.5 billion in 2018, as retailers continue to digitize the consumer experience.

(Note: check the article for bullet point links).

Along with this we discuss the data collected for analysis, which allows retailers to create a single view of each customer, find patterns and deliver a more relevant shopping experience in real time – again providing an instance for IoT relating to communications and digital signage.

Most recently at ISE2016, Graeme Harrison, Executive Vice President at Biamp Systems presented on the topic Why Should AV Care About IoT  – the description:

Graeme Harrison, Biamp’s executive vice president of marketing, will discuss how the Internet of Things (IoT) is permeating every level of service and technologies. Attendees will learn more about the possibilities IoT offers and how IEEE open standards such as AVB/TSN are fueling more ideas, encouraging a significant growth in the adoption of these standards, and solidifying them as the standard of choice for many industries.

And upcoming: IoT Insights — Santa Clara, CA May 9th 9:00 am – 3:30 pm EST (Marriott Santa Clara
2700 Mission College Boulevard, Santa Clara, CA)

IoT insights

The Internet of Things: It’s a hot buzzword, and an undeniable technology trend. But is it relevant to the commercial AV industry? Absolutely. This conference will put IoT in context for AV professionals, focusing on the potential opportunities in this new space. Join the foremost IoT players in the AV industry to explore: 

  • Why IoT should be of concern to the commercial audiovisual industry 
  • The impact of digitization 
  • What AV professionals need to know to prepare for our connected society

You’ll learn to leverage the knowledge and skills you already have as an AV professional to seize your share of what’s forecast to be a $19 trillion market over the next 10 years — and forge connections with the partners you’ll need to succeed.

More to come on the prospects of this convergence which will include information resulting from this conference, as well as further details about IoT at InfoComm 2016.