3 Commercial AV Considerations for the Current Environment
It’s a Different World, at Least for Now
If there ever was a time for business as usual, it isn’t now in 2022. The pandemic, high inflation, supply chain shortages, and unrest in certain parts of the world have conspired to make these extraordinary times. What does this have to do with commercial AV? Undoubtedly you understand the effects of today’s business environment on your world. But we’d like to focus on three areas you may want to think about as you consider your AV investments and how they support your business.
What do supply chains, Microsoft's new Front Row features for videoconferencing, and conference room acoustics have in common? More than you might think – or at least we think so. So dive in with us below, because these three things are representative of issues in commercial AV right now.
We've previously touched on solutions to supply chain issues. Some of the industry's leading vendors continue to struggle with specialized chip shortages, leading to long lead times for equipment deliveries. If you are upgrading many conference and meeting spaces with new AV and control systems, you may already know that your standard vendor and configurations may not be available in the quantities you need. You have two choices – extend your deployment timetables or look for alternative solutions. A multi-vendor solution may complicate your support and user experience plans, but you could investigate new models for your commercial AV investments. A managed services model can help bring together disparate systems under a common monitoring and support solution, taking the complexity out of your AV and IT organizations.
Microsoft Front Row
Microsoft Front Row is representative of another reality in today’s environment – supporting hybrid work models. It’s one of Microsoft’s solutions to making mixed meetings with in-office and remote participants more equitable. The truth is that most conference rooms have not been designed well for individual remote participants. Front Row changes the interface with new video layouts that puts remote participants on a more equal footing so that in-room people are seen individually, just as the remote viewers.
Other small interface improvements, like giving in-room folks the same reactions, also help make the experience feel like everyone is remote, much like it was during all remote work. The new video features will be enabled for Teams Rooms with integrations with popular systems like Logitech and Poly. No vendor has been immune to supply chain issues, so large deployments of Teams Rooms with these latest features might be limited by equipment availability. Planning ahead and considering other integration options with separate components may be critical to timely deployments.
With so many remote participants in today’s meetings, sound quality is ultra-important to smooth and productive meeting experiences. For more equitable meetings, the ability to hear is critical. Microphone technology and setup may need to be reconsidered for many meeting rooms. But even the best microphones and DSP beamforming and processing wizardry can’t fix all the physics of sound. Just as acoustic treatment fixes take home theater surround sound from acceptable to great, acoustic treatment can make a world of difference in your meeting rooms, fixing issues with reflections from today’s popular hard-surfaced interiors for improved intelligibility.
To tie the three areas we've discussed together, Microsoft is working with vendors for intelligent voice recognition microphones that can identify the speaker to make accurate automatic transcripts of meetings. If your room acoustics are subpar, this feature may not work consistently. And those new intelligent microphones? Plan early, as supply may be limited in this environment.
Level 3 Audiovisual is a Tempe, Arizona-based national managed services provider helping organizations of all sizes across the U.S. design, deploy, and manage AV systems and infrastructure. Start the dialogue by reaching out to Level 3 Audiovisual or clicking the chat box below to connect instantly. We look forward to working with you.