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Internet of Things: impact on AV industry

Previously we looked at the massive growth expected in the IoT market and the consequent opportunities, here we consider the different sectors connected devices will have an impact on and how they will interact, writes Steve Montgomery.

Business users are apparently embracing IoT sooner than the consumer segment. “The fixed install business is definitely the area within the pro-AV industry that will be the most quickly impacted. Our industry is already deeply immersed in the IoT business,” says Graeme Harrison, executive VP of marketing at Biamp. However he warns that: “A major issue is our industry’s unfamiliarity with IT in general. An example of this is that AVB/TSN is the deterministic protocol of IoT and our industry is still shying away from it in favour of proprietary, familiar audio-or video-only protocols.”

IoT technology is advancing into the other AV domain: smart home automation. According to Samsung: “The connected home is a primary focus for our IoT-enabled technology. In five years all Samsung hardware will be IoT-ready. The Smart Home Cloud API makes it possible to integrate any IoT-ready Samsung household appliance into any IoT ecosystem. We are working with industry partners in the Open Interconnect Consortium to build a truly open connectivity framework called IoTivity. Samsung deeply values the role of developers and their contributions, and firmly believe that developers will play a key role in realising the IoT era.”

What is new, Stijn Ooms, EMEA product manager at Crestron believes, is the way the two sectors interact. “The demands and benefits that are being felt at home are now being brought into the boardroom. Years ago we used experiences, and even products, that were developed for the corporate world and made variations to them to fit in the residential one. Now it’s the bosses of companies that sit at home with their tablets and smartphones and it’s their experiences and desires that they bring to work with them, so it is very much a consumer-driven market now. It’s our job to say ‘yes’ and then to make these things happen.”

Beyond the much-publicised industrial, automotive and wearable sectors, which are the declared targets of the major organisations, the AV sector will benefit and is already doing so, as Graham Fry, managing director at avsnet, believes: “Manufacturing in particular looks to benefit soonest. With multiple facilities, suppliers and delivery time being of the essence, the insight the IoT provides is invaluable to the sector across all operational areas. Retail and logistics organisations will also benefit as the IoT can assist with tracking items more accurately from warehouse to store to customer. From a consumer perspective, Burberry’s London flagship store has installed sensors on many of its items so that when a piece of clothing is presented in front of a connected mirror, customers will see videos of how the item was made and when it appeared on the catwalk.”

Specialist AV distributor RGB Communications believes that the IoT will become a significant constituent of the AV marketplace. Russell Wiles, first recruit of the newly formed IoT division, explains RGB’s understanding of the sector: “Undoubtedly, residential smart home and custom installation applications are at the forefront of the IoT. We have recently become the distributor for the Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect and Nest Cam, which are directly supported by a myriad of products from some of the world’s major manufacturers, like Lutron and Crestron, that carry the ‘Works with Nest’ logo. The potential for new business growth is not just hype. Today’s users find their lives made simpler, more secure and more convenient by basic IoT solutions and will want to do more in the future. The next generation of ‘digital natives’ will expect integrated ‘smart’ and ‘intuitive’ environments at home and at work.”

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