There has been much ado lately in the AV world about the appearance of Microsoft at InfoComm 2014. Most of that hype has been around the fact that they believe it means that AV/IT convergence is complete. I have my own thoughts on that subject which will be released shortly as an eBook download, but in the mean time, I wanted to weigh in on the subject of Microsoft at InfoComm specifically.
Microsoft coming to Infocomm means very little in the grand scheme of things and really has little to do with the state of AV/IT convergence. In my best Inigo Montoya voice,
“You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.”
The people of Microsoft will be at InfoComm for 2 reasons.
1) Microsoft has a product to promote in Microsoft Lync.
AV and VTC appliance manufacturers like Crestron and Polycom have started adding ways to leverage soft codecs and BYOD, specifically Microsoft Lync, based on the huge Office 365 user base.
2) They have plenty of free time and money.
Here’s a quick fact. Microsoft’s financial investment in InfoComm amounts to nothing more than a rounding error.
AV control system giant Crestron typically has huge amount of floor space at InfoComm and all that manpower to run the show, travel, and exhibit space doesn’t come cheap! No one bats an eye at the amount Crestron spends to be at InfoComm. We all know that their presence is relative to their earnings and to their opportunity to continue to grow.
Now consider that Microsoft’s earnings are conservatively 150 times greater than that of Crestron and ask yourself what being at InfoComm really costs Microsoft in relative terms.
A presence at InfoComm really represents a very weak commitment of Microsoft to the AV world, if any at all, and has almost nothing to do with the reality of AV/IT convergence coming to fruition on a large scale.
There is much more to AV/IT convergence than adding an ethernet port to an AV device or than connecting a PC to a projector to do a presentation or than having a big Microsoft logo on the floor at InfoComm.
So why do we want it to matter so much? Why do we feel some need for validation or the presence of something like Microsoft at InfoComm to make us feel like we are relevant? I read another short blog on the subject by Bill Brown and I think that there are some parallels in his analysis.
What do you think? Am I off base? Do I not see the bigger picture? Tell me I’m right or pick a fight (you won’t win) in the comments below and keep an eye out for my AV/IT convergence eBook being released in June.