Software always eats hardware. What do I mean by that? Just that expensive and proprietary hardware evolves into software running on commodity platforms. This phenomenon is now happening with increasing speed in AV — and it’s a great opportunity for AV resellers. It’s a chance to leverage software for ease of use, deeper integration of AV systems throughout an enterprise and reduced cost and support. Clearly, customers want these things and are seeking out AV integrators who can provide them.
This new world of software driven AV is a wireless, flexible, and connected world. When it comes to wireless, 90 percent of AV resellers are seeing customer demand solutions that provide wireless connectivity to displays. Software is central to everything, and while it is still new to the AV world, software adoption is increasing and demand is certainly there.
There are over 1 billion smartphones, 200 million tablets and 200 million laptops in use today. Combine that with 9 million projectors and 200 million LCDs in conference rooms. Then tack on more than 1 billion GB of data stored in the cloud that people want to share. How is it possible — and cost effective — to connect all of these devices and data in a meeting room? Well, let’s assume we’ll connect the video output of those devices to the world’s conference room displays using traditional, hardware-based, methods. The math is pretty straight forward. A typical 8×8 matrix video switch costs about $850 dollars. Even just connecting the 200 million laptops to the 200 million conference room displays would require 25 million switchers and cost well over 21 trillion dollars! Clearly, the current approach to inter-device screen connectivity is not scalable. You have to use existing networks and cloud based solutions to make this happen. In other words, software makes this possible.
In the same survey, AV resellers said when it comes to wireless media sharing the most important thing their customers want is a solution that supplies a rich set of in-room collaborative features. The second most important thing is a solution that integrates with their existing enterprise systems.
Wireless access to the display is the next big thing — especially for video. Video itself has introduced a great opportunity for resellers as new products have emerged providing more efficient ways to engage with customers. We see the evolution from a hardware focus to now a software focus. Wireless access to video is really premised on intelligent software deployed on the display side. Whether that’s a host PC or it’s running in a smart display. Displays that are able to listen and receive media coming in from many sources is becoming an essential technical requirement for customers. It’s a great sales opportunity for AV resellers to embrace.