Shaping the New AV/IT Model

10 Takeaways from the Denver AV/IT Leadership Summit 
by Margot Douaihy
Leadership: how do you define it? Is leadership about setting good examples for your team or community? Is it about strength in the face of adversity? Equanimity and articulation in the face of uncertainty? Maybe it’s about management of complex projects and team members with diverse skillsets? For me, leadership is about being proactive not just reactive, long-term thinking and day-to-day execution of deliverables with integrity and passion. That is why we created the AV/IT Leadership Summit series, so AV/IT stakeholders can meet in real time and share best practices.
Now in its second year, our Summit program brings our magazine content to life, offering two-plus days of spirited panel discussions, AV/IT Talks, topic dives, intimate discussion groups, and networking with peers. Technology vendors provide attendees opportunities to test-drive new products, procure feedback, and plan roadmaps. Some tech managers and users even sign up for beta testing of new product lines.

Our recent AV/IT Summit took place in Denver, August 3-4. We met to not only reflect on the converged AV/IT industry but to change and shape the AV/IT industry. The conversations we had in Denver, the ideas we sparked, the questions we asked, and the relationships we formed will influ-ence new designs, new lifecycle plans, and new ways of thinking. Here are just a few of the key AV/IT Summit takeaways. 
Mike Walker, Research Director and an author of Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, delivered the AV/IT Leadership Summit’s open-ing keynote in style. Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, helps business leaders across all major functions in every industry and enterprise size with the objective insights they need to make the right decisions.  

Not only was the Mike Walker’s keynote packed with information and analysis conducted by the global research firm, AV/IT Summit attendees were the first to see the results of the 2017 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. A few surprises appeared on this year’s Hype Cycle, and Walker shared unique insights on  emerging technologies as they relate to AV/IT. Walker predicted that the “digital twin” be a disrupter in your  organization within the next few years. He also urged attendees to find the patterns and intelligence hiding within big data. “Big data without big insights is a big problem,” Walker warned.
In his keynote, Walker also underscored the growing relevance of Software Defined Video, and his research showed that artificial intelli-gence, augmented reality, and virtual reality pos-sess real market potential. AI, AR, and VR should be considered when constructing your next-level AV infrastructure plans, but most of all, plan for  Machine Learning. “90 percent of today’s jobs will not be here as a result of Machine Learning,” Walker explained.  “The business model that got you here won’t necessarily be the one that brings you into the future.”
1. Transparently Immersive Experiences Augmented Reality, Smart
Workplaces,  Brain-Computer Interface, Conversational User Interfaces, Gesture Control Devices
2. AI Everywhere Machine Learning, Virtual Assistants, Cognitive Expert Advisors, Artificial General Intelligence Deep, Autonomous Vehicle Commercial, UAVs
3 Digital Platforms Blockchain, Digital Twin, Serverless PaaS, Edge Computing, Nueromorphic Hardware, Quantum Computing
The AV as a Service model is certainly not new, but it is becoming more prevalent.  Some solutions providers are making the hardware to software to service shift. At the AV/IT Summit, we explored what this model could look like at your institution. In the “As a Service” panel, our four experts weighed in on what the model might do to short- and long-term AV planning and the refresh cycle.
“In a properly run service delivery framework, everything is reactive, but it looks proactive,” said Paul Zielie  CTS-D,  I,  manager of Enterprise Solutions at Harman Professional.

“At WKU, we support 750-plus classrooms and all the big campus venues—anything AV on campus, we have to deal with,” said Justin Rexing, CTS-D, ISF-C, DMC-E-4K, AudioVisual Systems Engineer at Western Kentucky University.

“Proactivity is the magic of actually reacting before it’s caught,” said Mark Taylor, principal technology manager at Microsoft.
Structured as concise and intense topic-dives, in less than 10 minutes each, the Summit AV/IT Talks addressed a broad range of issues face by AV users and tech managers today. In his AV/IT Talk, Rodrigo Ordóñez, CTS-D, principal at K2 Audio, provided a framework for how to leverage converged networks and structured cable infrastructure to increase the flexibility and scal-ability of the AV application. He explained how an IT-based approach to AV provides the architectural team, facilities personnel and staff to have build-ings that are flexible and where spaces can be reas-signed. In the new AV/IT model, adding a new AV source or destination is simply a matter of using an existing connection point. “With the AV/IT model, the capabilities of the system is only lim-ited by what the network can do,” Ordóñez said.
Dante  has become a de facto standard in audio networking for  many AV pros, with  more than 350 AV manufacturers having  integrated Dante into its products.  Bernie  Farkus, senior tech-nical  sales engineer at Audinate, demonstrated Dante  Domain Manager, a  new network man-agement software that gives AV and IT  manag-ers  enterprise-level security and authentication (including Active  Directory integration), cross-subnet routing, and real-time  reporting,  alerting and audit logs.
The complexities of systems have become impos-sible to understand without the use of data acqui-sition and predictive analysis. Further, the analysis is infinitely more useful to humans when it is visualized. Much of research is physically done in disparate locations and requires conferencing, collaboration, and connectivity to teams and affiliates. In his presentation, Craig Park, FSMPS, ASSOC, AIA, principal consultant at The Sextant Group, explored trends in new and emerging technologies and facilities design related to data analytic visualization, connectivity, and collabo-ration in inter-disciplinary research facilities. His examples illustrated approaches to developing common languages and platforms so organiza-tions can more seamlessly input and share data, and to visualize it in a common, neutral space. Fundamentals of technology planning, budget-ing, and infrastructure design were also discussed. “The consumer user experience is driving the cor-porate and education user experience,” Craig Park said. “The next big question in technology: ‘why can’t this be more like ALEXA?’”
As AV systems are being migrated onto enterprise data networks, user organizations expect the AV system to maintain a security posture in alignment with their security goals. Harman’s Paul Zielie showed AV/IT Leadership Summit attendees how to determine and docu-ment AV security requirements relevant to organi-zational needs. In many cases, these requirements may be more than a case of business best practic-es, but may be a matter of regulatory compliance. 
“Understand your vulnerabilities,” Zielie explained. “It’s hard to show a ROI on security, but it’s a prerequisite for being connected to the network.”
Security is also a key consideration during a traffic assessment. For example, if the forecast says the IT network can handle the additional AV traffic, one option is to consider partitioning the network using a virtual local area networks (VLAN). That architecture can be particularly valu-able if visitors will be frequent users of multipur-pose rooms because the VLAN means they can’t accidentally or intentionally access, say, the server with payroll information.
All hands, IPTV, digital signage, and perfor-mance recording were among the topics explored by  Cody Kleven, vice president of  Partnerships at Haivision.  He shared effective video stream-ing solutions to help solve both business and IT challenges for delivering high quality live and on-demand video to  employees anywhere on any device. Summit attendees learned how to improve video workflows while minimizing the impact on the  network. He explored flexible and interoper-able platforms (on-premise, cloud, hybrids). “The challenge is supporting all users, including those off network, and doing it securely,” Kleven said. “The goal is to have a unified experience, no mat-ter where users are consuming their content.”
Intuitive,  easy-to-use AV and room control sys-tems are expected  these days. But some  systems that enable a natural, interactive in-classroom and distance learning  environments continue to be  cumbersome and constraining. Oklahoma State University’s AV engineer, Rockford Todd, and his team at Oklahoma State University, has a sur-prise for professors returning this fall. An autono-mous distance learning studio will instructors to walk freely around the room, and not be tied to a console. They won’t even  need to “learn” how to use the new system, and will be able focus on teaching and interacting with in-class and distance students. In this AV/IT Talk, Rockford explained the pain points that led to the search for a better system, the  decision process, and the  implementation.  Todd and his academic technology team didn’t want to carry the anchor, he said. “We cut the chain. We’re moving forward with active learning.”
Video  teleconferencing alone no longer supports the collaboration  requirements of  the modern workplace. Knowledge workers look to digital con-tent to facilitate  ideation, emphasize important points, and drive consensus. 
Christopher  Jaynes, founder and CTO of  Mersive Technologies, explored how  thousands of organizations  are using wireless content conferencing platforms  to augment info their traditional UC infrastructure to put meeting content on  equal footing with video and voice and drive new levels of collaboration. 
“The era of cable is dead, and that’s a good thing,” Jaynes said.  
Microsoft is well-known for its applications used by  nearly…everyone. But  ever wonder how this behemoth corporation plans for AV in its meeting spaces, conference rooms, and event spaces? Mark Taylor, principal technology manager at Microsoft Corporation shared how the IT department plans for  3,500-plus conference rooms and 112 event spaces in Puget Sound, and approximately 10,000 conference spaces worldwide. From  setting goals to  system architecture, to a lifecycle plan, he provided an insider view.
“We wanted to maximize TCO and ROI while minimiz-ing failures, so we charted out our lifecycle plan,” Taylor said.