Shifting From Appliances to Applications

Posted by Daniel Ponder on 04/22/2014

As a technology industry, sometimes one of the hardest things to do is watch the things you have always done transform into something else.

If you have been around AV long enough you have seen the technology evolve form film projectors to slide projectors to LCD to DLP and so on and so forth.  Almost always left to wonder what is next?

The only difference as we have evolved into the “nTH” generation of what is next, the amount of time between when something lands as the next big thing and when it retires continues to get shorter and shorter and shorter. 

I’m sure you can all remember when the newest hottest technology came out and it was replaced seemingly before you could get a demo.  Kind of like the movie that left the box office as quickly as it showed up.

Minidisk anyone? (I know most of you theatre folks still love that one!)

This fast transition can make it tough for the resellers of AV equipment to keep up and therefore we can only imagine how tough it is for our customers to keep up.  This is precisely why we make sure that we do and as often as possible we pass that knowledge along to you.

However, if we were going to share one thing that is really exciting but also a little scary for anyone who has installed, managed or designed audiovisual spaces, it is this:

We are moving from a world where our technology was driven by appliances to a world where our technology is being driven by applications.  Here are a few examples of the appliance-based technologies we know and love and the applications that are beginning to replace them.

  1. Smartboards (and similar): it seems like just a few years ago dedicated smart boards were all the rage in k-12 and were slowly but surely invading higher education and corporate spaces.  With software on laptops and mobile devices quickly becoming more available and more inexpensive these appliances are going to be gone in a matter of time.  The only real question is when.
  2. Room Codecs:  Remember those big cameras that sat on top of the television.  Most probably remember the Polycom Viewstation, but there were several manufacturers such as Tandberg, Radvisiona and Lifesize that also made these boxes.  Well first they moved from set top to the equipment rack and slowly but surely the video and its infrastructure are being virtualized into the data center.  Desktop applications and mobile video will ultimately eliminate the dedicated codec in all but the most unique circumstances.
  3. Touch Panels:  Well not all touch panels, just the super expensive dedicated touch panel.  Just a few years ago dedicated touch panels cost thousands of dollars each and they couldn’t do 10% of what an iPad can do.  This is precisely why the iPad will ultimately replace the touch panel appliance and will make touch based control a reality in spaces of every shape and size.

While there are many quickly changing technologies that are shifting presentation spaces, perhaps none have been disrupted more than the 3 outlined above. 

Some may think it is premature to call an end to some of the technologies that have long been at the center of presentation spaces and while it may not seem ideal for an integrator to do so, we know it is our responsibility to guide our customers forward and not keep them locked into the past.

The good news is the change provides customers with the opportunity to do more with their technology and is slowly but surely eliminating geographical barriers since users can participate and contribute to meetings from anywhere they can get a cell phone or network connection.

With each passing day the technology out there gets better and better.  We are anxious and excited to talk with you about how we can implement technology that better connects your work force and helps to drive more productive employees each and every day.  TODAY, is the day to SEE IT. HEAR IT. and FEEL IT!