Expert Implementation Key to Ensuring A/V Efficiency
The global migration to remote work operations has increased demand for multimedia conferencing tools. Analysts expect the market for audio/visual systems to experience double-digit growth over the next five years as organizations look to enhance their remote collaboration capabilities.
Although advanced A/V systems are essential to today’s work-from-anywhere models, they aren’t always known for being very user-friendly. In a recent study by the research firm Frost &Sullivan, 87 percent of business users said they are frustrated and stressed due to technical issues with their meeting room conferencing technologies.
A/V sessions can be tricky to set up, and participants might have to complete multiple steps to join a conference. Technical glitches, bandwidth constraints and mismatched devices can lead to dropped connections, garbled audio and frozen video. Additionally, competing transmission protocols can create audio-to-video synchronization mismatches.
Such issues are often the result of implementation errors. Deploying a professional A/V system requires the careful integration of a complex array of hardware, software and communication protocols. Integrating A/V systems with the IT infrastructure can be particularly challenging, requiring a deep understanding of network architectures, protocols and security, and how A/V systems impact the corporate LAN. Few organizations have those skillsets in-house.
The good news is that proper installation and integration will mask this complexity, creating a user-friendly system that just works. That’s why it is important to enlist the services of an integrator with specific expertise in A/V systems as well as the networking technologies required to support them.
Until a few years ago, A/V systems had their own wiring, switches and user interfaces, which keep them effectively isolated from the rest of the technology environment. Today, most organizations choose to use standard networking equipment to route audio, video and control signals to various destinations. This reduces cabling requirements and enables extremely high resolution 4K video with very low latency over long distances.
However, transmitting audio/visual data across IP networks does present some unique implementation challenges. For one, there are no uniform industry standards for this relatively new technology, which can result in compatibility issues between products from different manufacturers. For example, some manufacturers have proprietary standards for encoding A/V traffic for IP transmission. Unless you are also using their encoder and decoder products, you may have to pay additional licensing fees to make everything work.
An experienced A/V integrator can help you avoid such compatibility issues. For example, SSD’s A/V team works closely with customers to understand their environment and can design a system using industry-leading products from manufacturers that have compatible standards.
Another challenge with A/V over IP is how to enable multicast transmissions across a unicast network. IP networks operate on a unicast or point-to-point basis, meaning data is transmitted from a single source to a single destination. However, A/V systems require a multicasting approach to transmit data to multiple recipients simultaneously.
Experienced integrators understand the configuration requirements and protocols that enable seamless multicasting behind the scenes. Specifically, this requires a solid understanding of the Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP), which handles one-to-many networking requirements in IPv4 networks, and Multicast Listener Discovery, which does the same for IPv6 networks.
Whether deployed in large meeting rooms or smaller huddle rooms, today’s advanced A/V systems are robust and reliable solutions that improve collaboration with high-resolution video and theater-grade sound. Although they are very complex systems, they are surprisingly easy to use and manage — provided they’ve been implemented correctly. Visit us online to schedule a no-fee consultation with our A/V professionals to learn more about enhancing your communication and collaboration capabilities.