December 28, 2022
6 Reasons to Consider Handling AV on Your Own
Modern videoconferencing solutions are simpler, less expensive and more powerful than ever.
Not long ago, enterprise videoconferencing required a complicated mix of hard-to-integrate technologies. Organizations would select microphones, video displays, cameras, speakers, digital signal processors and control systems from an array of vendors, and they would almost always need an outside audiovisual integration company’s help to bring all of the solutions together.
If something went wrong, they had to call the AV integrator. Equipment reaching end of life? Call the AV integrator. An executive got frustrated with the technology and started unplugging and rearranging all the wires? You guessed it: Call the AV integrator.
The good news is that most companies can now get a great experience through all-in-one videoconferencing solutions that they can manage on their own. Here are six benefits of becoming your own AV integrator.
1. Decreased Complexity
I often work with organizations whose business and IT leaders struggle to grasp just how simple videoconferencing solutions have become. This is because their conference rooms are currently filled with complex webs of equipment, and because they have relied for so long on external AV integrators to sort out the mess for them. Today, outfitting a conference room often requires little more than a digital display and an all-in-one videoconferencing solution that incorporates speakers, microphones, cameras and computing, all in one appliance.
2. Lower Costs
A modern videoconferencing setup typically comes with a lower overall price tag because it doesn’t require as much specialized equipment. In small and midsize conference rooms, all-in-one solutions can often replace even ceiling microphones and mechanical pan-tilt-zoom cameras. For business and IT leaders who haven’t swapped out their videoconferencing infrastructure in some time, it can be startling to see just how much the equipment has improved. Many video soundbar systems will automatically adjust volume based on how far away a person is, and digital pan-tilt-zoom is often a very capable replacement for cameras that mechanically track meeting participants.
3. Improved User Experience
Less complexity usually means a better experience for meeting participants. Many end users are coming to expect one-touch join simplicity from technology. In the past, a one-touch join outcome required a complex custom integrated system. Now, this experience is table stakes for even the most basic do-it-yourself systems. Additionally, when there’s more audiovisual equipment in a conference room, there are more potential points of failure. We’ve all been in video meetings where the technology has failed us, and it can be extremely frustrating.
4. Reduced Management Burden
Anyone who has worked in technology for a long time has probably been asked to “babysit” a video meeting for executives at some point. Historically, many end users have not trusted the technology, or they haven’t trusted themselves to manage it. Simplified videoconferencing equipment lets users run their meetings themselves, freeing up IT professionals for other tasks.
5. Resistance to Tampering
Remember when I mentioned a frustrated end user pulling wires out of ports and rearranging them? That’s not a wild flight of fancy on my part. It’s something that actually happens with complex videoconferencing setups, and it’s something that internal IT folks struggle to fix (in which case they often … call the AV integrator). A more modern, simplified videoconferencing arrangement typically features only a few wires: an Ethernet cable, a power cord and an HDMI cable.
6. Faster Rollout
Finally, simplified setups help IT departments to meet business demands for fast rollouts. That’s especially important today, amid return-to-office and hybrid work initiatives. Just as organizations were forced to rapidly deploy remote work solutions in the spring of 2020, IT shops are now being asked to quickly get on-premises video collaboration solutions up and running. Today’s simplified technology makes that possible — no AV integrator required.
Story by Mike Clinton, a principal solution architect in CDW’s collaboration integrated technology services practice. He has more than 20 years of experience at CDW within various roles, mostly in integrated tech.