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AV-over-IP: Growing Trend in 2018 & Benefits

Corporate Office AV over IP installation trend

OK, AV-over-IP is nothing new. However there's no denying there's rapidly growing interest among both AV integrators and customers, and it's nothign short of a growing trend to note in 2018.

But what’s there to have a good think about? Let's dive in.

Dominance of AV-over-IP at ISE 2018

It dominated the discourse at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2018 in Amsterdam, which is proof of the dramatic depth and scope of its potential. Hundreds of participants showcased a far wider range of AV-over-IP products, solutions, and enhancements along with ideas / roadmap for AVoIP solutions to develop over the coming years.

At ISE, protocols for running and managing AV multimedia content over Ethernet sparked a spirited debate too. Dante, short for Digital Audio Network through Ethernet, leads the AV protocol market, with more than 1,300 Dante-enabled solutions available.

But it's not the only option available. Other companies showcased alternative protocols such as Audio Video Bridging (AVB). There's also the debate on what network capacity should be used—1GB or 10GB?

In other words, companies at ISE were divided on the choices, but it was clear these debates show that AV-over-IP isn't goign to be history anytime soon.

Many Benefits of AV-over-IP

Why should this wonky conference conversation interest you? The demand for networked AV is expanding and AV integrators are preparing to demonstrate how it can add value to your initiatives.

Simplicity, speed, capacity, and quality. Dispensing with the lengthy process of installing and maintaining an indeterminate number of cables saves time and becomes less expensive. Needless to mention, takes away complexity in infrastructure design.

A single Ethernet connection facilitates many jobs faster and with a higher degree of quality, processing much larger amounts of video and audio than serial cables.

IP control streamlines the troubleshooting of technical issues because the system centrally manages devices with fewer points of failure. The simple architecture reduces hardware cost and future maintenance needs. All this makes scaling integrations to suit your needs much simpler.

And no, it isn't a corporate thing either! Recent projects in the higher education sector make a strong case for AV-over-IP. There are abundant case studies exploring IP-based options that Universities have deployed to create smarter, collaborative learning spaces, lecture theatres, teaching laboratories, and workshops to name a few.

These spaces are capable of transmitting uncompressed 4K and UHD content with zero latency. The 12 are equipped with cameras and screens for instant connectivity.

Scalability is fundamental to cost efficiency - need we say? AV-over-IP platforms can easily be scaled with additional IP switches to the existing packet switch network. Matrix switches enhance the availability of multiple sources and destinations.

Sources include PC outputs, cameras, media players, and satellite boxes, while destinations can be laptops, PCs, smartphones, tablets, and receiver boxes connected to televisions and video walls.

For example, a video presentation originating from a PC can be routed from an AV transmitter box to a video matrix switcher connected to numerous receiving devices capable of displaying the video in real time.

AVoIP: IT security implications

Security. Concerns over unauthorised access to AV resources keeps IT managers on the brink - confidentiality, privacy, integrity, availability, and the entire IT network.

But they don’t have to worry when they have a tight security policy in place. Strong encryption, passwords, firewalls, and authorization can be implemented with a “Defense in Depth” approach.

This means multiple layers of security controls within a system to provide redundancy in case the first line of defense fails. For example, if an intruder gets past the firewall, he still needs a user name and password to get access to a protected system. Any device attached to the AV-over-IP network should have relevant security features and configuration, meet compliance requirements, and stand up to audit.

Some networked AV products now come pre-built with encryption capabilities, and AV signals pass through dedicated encoders and received by decoders connected to the display or speaker.

No denying the growing trend of AV-over-IP has put forward a whole range of both challenges and opportunities. Most have hit us quite fast too! Understanding and responding to these opportunities is critical to your own success.

What are you doing about it? What's your take?

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