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AV and broadcast: opportunities for integrators

Delivering content to screens is what large parts of the AV industry does on a daily basis. In theory, that should make the rapidly growing in-house broadcast market an attractive one.

There is an argument for television being the most influential medium across the globe – so it’s not surprising that, worldwide, businesses, educational organisations, sports facilities and many others are embracing its charms. And, given that – to grossly oversimplify – it’s all about putting screens on the end of signals, it’s inevitable that, increasingly, it’s a market that’s of interest to the AV community.

“In fact, the trend is flowing both ways,” notes Andy Fliss, director of marketing at tvONE. “Not only are non-broadcast venues creating broadcast-type environments, but broadcast venues are employing an increasing amount of traditional AV equipment. Companies like tvONE produce a wide range of hybrid products that enable the bridging of the technologies.”

Anyone who was at IBC will confirm the truth of that observation – and also the increasing pervasiveness of IT technologies in both worlds.

“Products are using increasingly similar transmission technologies such as taking advantage of IT networks,” points out Christian Diehl, who is product manager at Riedel. “In this way, there is more interoperability between them. PC-based workflows, generic and inexpensive devices, and the availability of more and more professional equipment are all contributors to driving good-quality video to organisations that might not have been able to afford it previously.”

Jamie Shepperd, group marketing manager at Adder Technology, warms to the theme.

“Essentially, pro AV has enabled businesses, universities and other organisations to create and maintain broadcast capabilities and channels for internal use,” he says. “The commonality between pro AV and broadcast can be found in IT and the use of this technology throughout both sectors. And, as technology has advanced, this idea of internal broadcasting has become simpler – enabling almost anyone to become a broadcaster.”

“There is a definite trend for organisations to create their own internal broadcasts,” adds Sean Brown, senior VP at Sonic Foundry. “Cameras, mixers, wireless microphones and the entire traditional audiovisual presentation environment is being combined with videoconferencing and presentation recorder/encoders like Mediasite to transform traditional presentation environments into internet broadcast studios.”

But who are these “organisations”?

“Broadly, businesses across a wide range of industries – including the corporate, education, leisure, sports and education markets – are making content creation and distribution a priority, or at least looking to,” believes Olivier Bovis, head of AV media marketing at Sony Europe.

Fliss sees an equally all-embracing opportunity. “The burgeoning of the in-house studio is crossing all lines from education to retail,” he says. “There is no specific market leading the way. It’s progressing at a feverish rate – and it’s actually very exciting.”

Brown, on the other hand, sees a clear leader.

“Higher education has adopted this technology by far the fastest of all markets,” he claims. “The opportunity to turn every single lecture hall into a real-time broadcast studio has been a significant source of audiovisual investment in that community. Large multi-site corporations closely follow in their use of these new technology combinations.”

“I see the most activity in higher education,” echoes John Spiro-Colwell, product manager at Crestron. “The universities want to enable remote and online learning and these types of broadcasts help them do this. In corporations, I see these kinds of things being used for training.”

“There is an inherent need for broadcasting within the sports market where clubs need to record and archive game footage, deliver this to analysts, players and coaches as well as deliver entertainment to supporters on match days. We’ve seen this sector grow significantly in the last three to four years,” says James Keen of Tripleplay Services. “Schools, colleges and universities are also huge users of video, broadcasting lectures, experiments, performances, sports events and much more. Education has often been at the ‘bleeding edge’ for technologies, and I think the same can be said of this one.”

“Certainly, there’s growth in all market areas,” confirms Adder’s Shepperd. “As a supplier of IP-based high-performance KVM solutions for use in broadcast, we’ve seen increased interest and appetite for internal broadcast capabilities. Overall, the ability to create, manage and distribute content is becoming easier and ever more part of our daily lives. And as technology becomes cheaper and easier to use, the main barriers to entry of cost and availability have been removed.”