Moving to a new office is a great chance to reconsider the way your entire business operates. But with great power comes great responsibility, and with great opportunity comes an even greater need for planning. You need to carefully select office infrastructure that will suit the workflows and culture you wish to cultivate.

Pro AV is becoming an essential aspect of modern office spaces. As more employees expect top-tier office technology, it becomes more necessary for business owners to prioritize pro AV when moving from one office to another.

Here's why AV over IP should be at the forefront of your plans when moving into a new office.

Why Choose Pro AV

 Before we discuss selecting or building an office with pro AV, it helps to explain why that AV is so necessary in the first place.

“Firms should provide effective workplace technologies that can help engage and attract workers, whilst enabling collaboration and creative thinking,” says Simone Martorina at Epson UK. He specifies the importance of reliable AV setups, not just for practical use, but to create an inspiring work environment.

It isn't enough to simply pick any pro AV system. Some systems suit certain working environments better than others, and it will take research to know which is appropriate for your business. Still, more businesses are turning to AV over IP, or networked AV, to meet their technological demands.

AV over IP isn't new, but it is becoming more mainstream. Marnus Swart, lead solutions architect for Ubuntu Unified Communications, notes that AV over IP is going to revolutionize the AV industry, just as voice over IP did before it.

Finding the ideal setup is difficult, and you might be worried that you're giving up the pros of one platform by choosing another. But you won't always have to give something up to reap the benefits of AV over IP.

“You don't have to just do HDBaseT. You don't just have to do AV over IP. It's important to try and understand the use cases where each,” says Daniel Shwartzberg, director of customer experience at HDBaseT Alliance.

Working with a vendor who understands your company's unique needs can ensure that you get the best possible solution.

One Platform, Many Uses

Why are so many businesses turning to networked AV over other platforms? The answer lies in its many long-term benefits.

For one, AV over IP is a flexible solution that can work with nearly all AV devices, adds Commercial Integrator. In addition to working with devices like controllers, touch panels, cameras, microphones and thermostats, AV over IP can also be implemented with ease. In fact, AV over IP networks can be deployed up to three times faster than a traditional matrix switcher.

HBCommunications, an audiovisual technology company, agrees that AV over IP is easier than legacy systems to install. “Dispensing with the lengthy process of installing and maintaining an indeterminate number of cables saves time and becomes less expensive. 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.”

In the past, businesses used a number of different solutions, each with their own sets of rules to learn. AV over IP has greatly simplified this process. This leads to a more streamlined, productive office that can grow quickly and efficiently.

“IP networks allow for an almost limitless number of sources and destinations (displays) on the system, eliminating the need for matrix switchers. That scalability is a significant advantage both in convenience and in cost,” adds ClearOne Sales Director Lewis Eig.

The cost-effective nature of AV over IP is a major selling point for businesses that are already spending money to move or build a new office. AV over IP is often the solution that makes sense for both finances and function.

Preparing Your Business and Employees for the Future

Aside from the major benefits already discussed, one of the greatest benefits of choosing AV over IP is its ability to prepare spaces for the future. This is a key consideration for building an AV enabled office space.

Since technology moves at such a rapid pace, it's important to adopt scalable infrastructure that can meet the demands of something that's always changing, says Andela's Lisbi Abraham. This ensures your company stays nimble and continues to learn, without having to reinstall or rebuild an AV system.

This is why networked AV is perfect for scaling a business.

“As technology advances into the future, an AV over IP system has the flexibility to scale up while keeping costs down by just adding encoders, decoders, or IP switches to the existing network,” says Florante Ancheta at B2B Express.

This wasn't always believed when it came to AV over IP. In the past decade, many people suspected that networked AV would cause problems, especially when it came to communicating with the IT department.

But publications like Strategic Communications are optimistic. “Barriers that once existed between AV and IT, now find themselves bulldozed down, creating a catalyst for collaboration and innovation. The future for this new technology looks very strong.”

As AV over IP continues to grow in popularity, it will help more businesses provide solutions that meet their clients' needs.

Considering the Network

A necessary aspect of futureproofing is considering how much bandwidth your network makes available. As Installation International notes, more bandwidth is usually better, especially when it comes to AV over IP.

“It is arguable that we are now heading into another period of change as AV and IT networks are more frequently converged, and as talk of 1Gb networks begins to be replaced by anticipation of 10Gb or even 40Gb networks in order to offer the necessary bandwidth and 'futureproofing.'”

Of course, the network is a big thing to consider in general — and not just when looking at it from the lens of futureproofing. Kramer AV suggests that this should be one of the earliest things a business looks at. Network requirements, like functionality and redundancy, are particularly important. Companies should also consider whether video walls or projectors will be used.

It's safe to assume that more presentations and conference calls will require more bandwidth as time goes on. It pays to invest now in systems that can handle 10GB as opposed to ones that can only handle 1GB networks.

Luckily, more and more companies are providing technology that can work with 10GB AV over IP solutions without sacrificing quality.

Tips and Tricks for Moving Your Office

There are a few more considerations to keep in mind when moving to a new office.

For one, you should be sure to keep AV traffic separate from non-AV traffic, James Careless from AV Technology suggests. You should also be sure what content you want to move and why, and make sure your IT department is on board. Sorting all of these things through before speaking with a professional can ensure that the AV over IP installment meets your needs.

Having a basic understanding of the industry is also important, explains ZeeVee IP Product Manager Art Weeks. He adds that it's essential to understand the interconnected relationship between AV latency, quality and bandwidth.

These are just some of the things that should be considered by businesses when they are moving to or building an office with pro AV. However, working with a vendor who knows how to select the right solution is also key to success.

Images by: Sergey Skripnikov/©, Goran Bogicevic/©, dolgachov/©

Posted in Industry