HowToAV catches up with Kramer Electronics Head of Control & Solutions - Keren Lipshitz - to get her thoughts on the future of AV control systems.
Users are becoming smarter, they know exactly what they want and are searching for the solution, they don't just want to go to the integrator and ask 'I want a control system' they are checking by themselves. They understand what the market can offer and are coming with detailed requirements as well as wanting things kept simple. Keeping things simple is key, if things aren't simple this will drag the IT managers to support a lot. The users that enter the room do not want to handle technology, they simply come to present and if you are giving them the right tools to present and to avoid the understanding of the technology it makes their lives easier and you will not get a support call. This is what users are trying to avoid the support.
Users want to have a user interface where they don't need any training on the system and can use it immediately. Complicated and expensive touch panels are being replaced slowly with our smart phones or tablet or very simple touch panels. The reason is that you want to be able to control it from any device as well as wanting the feeling of simplicity. People want to plug-and-play and that's it. Control has to go in this direction as well we need most of the things to happen automatically when you enter the room, a sense of 'the room wakes up'. For example the lights are on, the display or projector goes on or the lights are dimming. You can also give the user a simple to use touch panel so they can take over and decide to change the scenario.
The arrival of software-based control solutions has given integrators the ability to offer better solutions at a lower cost. You will no longer need the installer to come in and update the hardware or do any CO and RMA or all the things hardware related. It will be cheaper because software based solutions are much cheaper than hardware based solutions. With the price getting cheaper we are going to have an increase in more rooms that can use control.
They will have to adjust and think about which services they can offer with the software. Is it updates? Are all the updates free? Is it warranty? For example if you have bug fixes or anything on it are you going to give it for the first year for free or the second year for free? Maybe you'll have a program for any updates to the room we know people like to be kept updated. Technology is changing all the time, every year we have something new and as long as you can give this service from remote you can charge for it. Software is endless, the same software can get more and more features and you can charge for it.
The IT market is much bigger than the AV market, so it is likely that the AV will migrate into the IT world and not vice-versa. As things go online today you have less fixed network switches for example and more AV over IP and this is IT field, AV but on the IT field so there will be a shift, companies will find their way in the IT world. With this shift they will gain more business and market share much faster than companies that insist of sitting on the AV side only.
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