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Audio Visual Equipment

AV Integrated Conference Room

What audio visual equipment is in demand among businesses and schools?

The AV industry has grown steadily for years, and with educators and professionals doing more of their work remotely, the need for audio visual equipment is increasing. This trend has accelerated in the last 18 months, to the point where most organizations would benefit from integrating AV solutions into their workflow. Some of these solutions include:

  • Video conferencing systems
  • Wireless presentation systems
  • Digital signage
  • Interactive whiteboards and flat panels
  • Augmented and virtual reality

An AV integrator can develop, install, configure and maintain any of the above solutions, as well as customize one or more of them to ensure a perfect fit in your organization.

Video conferencing and wireless presentation systems drive collaboration

At the heart of most AV projects is video conferencing, and while the technology has been around for decades, it is far more reliable and immersive than it was just years ago. With the rise of remote workers, video conferencing has become essential to how many organizations communicate and do business.

Here’s why your organization should consider video conferencing:

  1. It facilitates faster meetings – Survey after survey find that professionals feel like they spend too much time in meetings. This concern is more common among managers, and as meeting time stacks up, there’s less time to get work done. Video conferencing allows professionals to instantly connect and communicate when needed, which cuts down on wasted time.
  2. It connects people over long distances – Remote teams are becoming more common and this trend is unlikely to slow anytime soon. Video conferencing ensures these teams stay connected, whether they are in the same building or in other countries.
  3. It is packed with features – Modern video conferencing solutions are fitted with leading edge hardware and software to simplify and enhance professional meetings. For example, current generation conferencing systems come with powerful content sharing features that make it easy to share documents, graphics and videos.

In response to growing health and safety concerns, some video conferencing brands, like Crestron, Mersive, Barco and Screenbeam, have also released wireless presentation systems. With a wireless presentation system in place, users only have to enter the room, punch in a code, or connect a USB dongle to their device and instantly connect to the room’s conferencing equipment. There’s no need to touch any shared surfaces and users can run the meeting from their own device, which many professionals prefer.

Digital signage is an extremely simple yet versatile option

Digital signage is another AV solution that’s been popular for years. A typical digital signage solution includes an array of digital flat panels, media players and a content management system that runs everything from the backend. Here’s a closer look at each component:

  • The digital flat panels – Each display in a digital signage system is commercial-grade, which means they’re built with heavier heat sinks and onboard fans. With these improvements, they can remain on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Each display is built on LED technology, so they’re efficient and long lasting, and they can be used to output an endless variety of layouts.
  • The media players – Every display is connected to a media player, which serves as the brain for the signage. Media players store layouts and content for immediate retrieval, so there’s no need to send data to the displays in real time.
  • The content management system – Every digital signage solution comes with a content management system, or CMS, that simplifies management, content creation and scheduling. Through the CMS, users can monitor each display’s status, power them on and off, and push over updates. Also, the CMS is packaged with simple layout creation software, which includes templates for rapid layout design. Once a layout is created, users can schedule certain layouts to run at certain dates and times.

Interactive whiteboards and flat panels allow for more creative meetings

Interactive whiteboards and flat panels look like standard commercial LED displays, but they are far more functional. An interactive display is built with an interactive screen which can be used with finger gestures, pens or other tools. Users can control the whiteboard or flat panel from the screen with simple movements or from their own device. Further, interactive displays often come with onboard CPUs and hard drives, so content can be stored and retrieved for future meetings.

Interactive whiteboard and flat panel technology truly shines in the classroom, where interactivity makes for more interesting lessons and greater student participation. To drive participation further, manufacturers like Clevertouch and Promethean design their displays so that multiple users can connect to them and control them. This greatly speeds up student presentations and allows for additional creativity.

Virtual and augmented reality can transform how students learn

Another emerging AV solution for the classroom is virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). What’s the difference between the two?

  • Virtual reality – Virtual reality is normally delivered to students via headset, and while the headset is on, students are transported to a simulated world where they have limited control. Teachers, however, can control VR experiences from their device and monitor what students are doing to steer the lesson.
  • Augmented reality – Augmented reality doesn’t provide a virtual environment for users to navigate, so no headset is involved. Instead, AR makes clever use of eyewear and special digital screens to bring virtual elements into the real world.

Both VR and AR can deliver compelling education experiences, far beyond what can be provided by a textbook or lecture. With VR, students can explore other planets, travel through time, and witness historical events as they unfold. With AR, students can watch a T-rex stomp across their desk, simulate physics in fun ways and examine a beating human heart from every angle.

The future of AV equipment may be exciting, but so is the present. New solutions that enhance business and educational initiatives are being released all the time, and while that means plenty of choices for organizations, it also means there’s a lot of technology to consider. An AV integrator can spearhead the important decisions for its clients, ensuring their organization’s needs (and wants) are accounted for when developing a long-term solution.