Rahi’s A/V team is getting ready to head to the Infocomm Conference in Las Vegas June 2-8. This information-packed weeklong event features two- and three-day courses, tours of cutting-edge facilities, and immersive seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics. The schedule of sessions offers a glimpse into the key trends taking shape in audio/video technology.

It also illustrates how A/V and IT are increasingly intertwined. Sessions such as “Real-World A/V Networking,” “Networked Audio” and “A/V Network Security Lab” are designed to help attendees understand network architectures, protocols and security, and how audio and video systems will impact the corporate LAN.

Traditionally, A/V systems were isolated from the remainder of the technology environment. Projection systems, speakers and other components had their own wiring, switches and user interfaces. Today, however, many of these systems are IP-enabled. A/V data is sent over IP networks and Ethernet switches are used for system monitoring, management and control.

A/V over IP offers a number of benefits over legacy technologies. IP-based controllers don’t have the wiring distance and port number limitations of traditional A/V switches. Devices can be placed anywhere there’s a network connection, and the system can easily scale. Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches eliminate the need to run electrical wiring for many devices. In addition, A/V over IP makes it possible to centralize control of components, which means faster response to issues and simplified troubleshooting.

Perhaps most importantly, A/V over IP improves the user experience. Clunky, hard-to-use interfaces are replaced with intuitive touchscreen panels that can be made consistent across the enterprise environment. A/V systems can also be integrated with lighting, shades, HVAC systems and scheduling software to improve energy efficiency and optimize room conditions.

There are, of course, drawbacks — not the least of which is the potential bandwidth bottlenecks that can occur when multimedia traffic is added to the enterprise network. In addition, organizations need to be concerned about the security of network-connected A/V devices.

For these reasons, IT departments are starting to take over A/V services that might traditionally have been handled by facilities managers. However, few IT teams have expertise in A/V technologies. They may understand the underlying network and security requirements, but lack the know-how to select the right components and implement a high-quality A/V system.

A better approach is to partner with a solution provider with expertise in both A/V and the underlying IT infrastructure. Rahi Systems has a practice dedicated to the design, integration, installation and support of A/V systems. Rahi’s A/V team will assess user needs and the environment where the A/V equipment is to be installed. They will then recommend components that create a high-quality experience yet are cost-efficient and easy to use.

The A/V team works collaboratively with Rahi’s network engineers to ensure that the IT infrastructure can support the A/V system. If the network needs to be reconfigured or upgraded, the customer has a one-stop resource for all aspects of the project.

To take full advantage of A/V over IP, you need experts who understand the network as well as A/V technologies. Rahi’s professionals can help you implement an A/V system that meets the needs of your end-users and your IT team.

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