Audio visual (AV) over IP - bridging the gap between audio visual, IT

Audio visual over IP will revolutionise the AV industry in the same way that telephony was revolutionised by voice over IP, says Marnus Swart, lead solutions architect for Ubuntu Unified Communications.

Pretoria, 01 Sep 2017
Read time 3min 40sec

Although this technology has been available for a decade now, audio visual (AV) over IP has finally become a mainstream solution. This will revolutionise the AV industry in the same way that telephony was revolutionised by voice over IP (VOIP), says Marnus Swart, Lead Solutions Architect for Ubuntu Unified Communications.

So, what is AV over IP or networked AV?

AV over IP is an endlessly scalable AV platform, unchained from conventional physical hardware limitations. No longer are you bound to the limitations of legacy AV hardware preventing on-the-fly addition of sources and displays.

Shifting the AV platform to a network allows you to break the barriers imposed by physical limitations, such as building layouts or distance. Imagine an AV platform where any source can be shown on any display in your organisation, not limited to a building or even a country. This is exactly what networked AV achieves.

AV over IP is not limited to just audio and video content; the platform also includes the functionality to broadcast signals like USB (KVM), IR/Serial (control), etc.

In a technology environment that is constantly evolving to a cloud-based platform, audio visual signalling is no exception. AV over IP stretches the canvas of your solution beyond conventional limits.

This is converged AV over the cloud.

Do I need a whole new network?

Most mature network implementations will be sufficient without having to replace any hardware. AV over IP has been developed, over the last decade, to have different flavours of compression standards. This will allow the solution to run on your existing network with minor configuration to your VLANs and routing. There are even sufficient compression standards to allow you to send AV over your low bandwidth WAN.

So, in short, the answer is no. It is, however, recommended that a proper network assessment is done to ensure the solution is implemented without impacting your current network functionality.

In instances where it is preferred to have a local scalable solution, this can be implemented over a dedicated, separate network.

Practical applications

There are several applications only possible via an AV over IP solution, for example:

* Imagine your CEO walks into your office and says: "I need to address the entire organisation in 30 minutes." Doing this with your conventional AV platform would not be possible, but as you have implemented AV over IP, taking a camera feed from the CEO's office and broadcasting the address to every single display in the organisation is instantly achieved.

* Your current command centre video wall solution has a conventional switcher in place, which caters for the initial need. You are suddenly required to add 20 additional sources and six additional displays to the video wall platform. A conventional switcher would need to be replaced, but with AV over IP, you are free to scale limitlessly. Simply point any new source to any display and you are done.

Who to use for your AV over IP transformation

There is a great risk to implement AV over IP with a company not able to provide the proper guidance on a network level. This has the potential to negatively affect your network and can have a severe business impact.

Ubuntu Technologies is one of a few companies that is an expert in both the audio visual and networking industry. It has the ability to assess your network, implement the necessary changes, and roll-out your AV over IP platform. Ubuntu Technologies understands the convergence of the industry to the extent that the audio visual and networking teams are placed under the same company division.

Ubuntu Technologies is a proudly accredited partner of the leading manufacturers of this technology. For product information, please refer to the links below:

Contact Ubuntu Technologies to see how the company can assist you.

About the author

Marnus Swart is the Lead Solutions Architect for Ubuntu Unified Communications, with over 10 years' experience in the AV and unified communications industry.

Editorial contacts
Ubuntu Technologies Mark Dracatos (012) 347 7944
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