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AV Trends To Expect in 2018

01 December 2017

As in any tech-driven industry, it is imperative that audio-visual and digital communications specialists keep a finger pressed to the pulse of current events and upcoming trends. This is especially true in this day-and-age, when every tech company wants to play the part of disruptor, upending the apple cart, and innovating and redefining the way their industries do business.

So, as 2017 winds down and 2018 is staring at us from the other side of the horizon, we’re looking ahead at the trends and technologies that promise to shape our industry over the next year, and what you can do to prepare for them.

Artificial Intelligence Continues To Expand

It should come as no surprise that artificial intelligence (AI) is at the top of our list.

Between worries about its impact on the future of labour and excitement about its potential to improve every facet of the human condition, AI is the tech topic of the moment, and it has been for a couple of years now.                                      

Contrary to what the buzz might have you believe, AI is not exactly new and it’s in use (albeit, in rudimentary forms) right now. Online customer support, fraud detection and, of course, video gaming are all areas that continue to make use of artificial intelligence.

People travelling to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics might even encounter robot guides and robot cleaners at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport. 

Going forward, AI will further integrate into the Internet of Things to find itself deeply entrenched in home automation, advanced control room design, optimised video encoding and even in remote conferencing

Some of this exists today, as a perusal of our available products will clearly show.              

Far from ushering in a robot apocalypse, applications of artificial intelligence will centre around consumer convenience and user experience.

Speaking of which…

User Experience Will Be At The Heart Of The Industry

There was a time when user experience (UX) was more of an afterthought than a focus of the AV industry. It is no longer feasible for that to remain the case.

2017 saw UX come to the fore, with specialists across tech industries realising the need to streamline and simplify the interfaces that their end users will have to interact with. In the AV industry, manufacturers are learning to take not only the end user into account, but also installers and integrators.

It is all a part of the creeping digitisation of everyone’s lives. It becomes of paramount importance that specialised tech becomes user-friendly as it further infiltrates the day-to-day life of Joe Average.

As technology that was once reserved for specialised industries further infiltrates the day-to-day life of Joe Average, the need to have that technology be user-friendly becomes paramount.

More than that – as we’ve touched on before – in sensitive and important environments, such as control rooms, UX is about more than just comfort. The effectiveness of a given solution’s performance is going to be impacted by how able its human users are to conveniently interact with its interface.

This focus on UX will see the industry continuing to apply IT principles to AV solutions – a philosophy Peripheral Vision has always espoused – which brings us to our next point…

Convergence of IT and AV

Another area we’ve touched on before – and one that will become ever-more important in the years to come – is the ongoing blurring of boundaries separating IT from AV.

In a lot of ways, this convergence of disciplines has already happened, and there are few AV devices and systems that are not networked. However, as we move forward into 2018 and beyond, IT skills, technologies and infrastructure will be absolute necessities for AV specialists who want their equipment to be more than so many high-tech paperweights.

This is going to mean more interdisciplinary collaboration and communication, necessitating that experts from different industries, utilising different specialist vernaculars can integrate not only their systems and infrastructures, but also their skillsets.

Ultimately, while this alliance of disciplines may experience some growing pains and professional territoriality, the convergence of technology will continue to make possible such innovations as exist in the subject of our next point…

Immersive Experiences Through Virtual, Augmented And Mixed Reality Technologies

By now, most of us have heard of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), with the Oculus Rift headset having given us a taste of the former, while Pokemon Go announced the latter to the world at large.

The next major innovation in the area of immersive experiences is going to be what is called mixed reality (MR).

First developed for the United States Air Force back in the early nineties, MR is much like AR and offers a merging of the virtual and real worlds, integrating physical and digital objects and environments, allowing real-time interaction between the two.

While VR supplants the real world through its headset-mounted displays, MR exists along a spectrum of immersion, and can be experienced through devices ranging from headsets to smartphones – eventually making it accessible to a broad cross-section of consumers.

According to research firm, Gartner, as many as 20% of large-enterprise businesses will have evaluated and adopted AR, MR or VR by 2019. These businesses will be adopting the technology to meet such needs as skills training and product visualisation.

Whatever the future of the AV industry looks like, you can bet that Peripheral Vision will be there to help guide you through it. For more information about AV innovations, advancements and solutions, contact us today!

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