Why Is It Essential To Build a Bridge Between AV and IT?

The Congreso AVIXA emerged during the first months of the pandemic as an alternative for linking, training, and sharing knowledge between the Iberoamerican audiovisual (AV) industry members. With a flexible programming concept, the different editions of the Congreso AVIXA have focused on various topics to maintain the freshness that virtual events require to capture an audience's attention with a wide range of conferences, seminars, and presentations at its disposal.

To learn more about the next virtual edition of the "AVIXA Congress: IT + AV Optimizing solutions and results," which will take place from April 26 to 29, we spoke with Rodrigo Casassus Coke, CTS, senior director of Development for Latin America, and the Caribe from AVIXA.

Casassus explains that, after the first two years of the pandemic, it is noted that the public is more demanding in terms of their participation in virtual meetings and conferences, so it is necessary to capture their attention with new or previously little-explored topics. Hence, transforming AVIXA's online events' programming to return to global interest matters to the association will mark the content schedule during the year. "One of those issues is the integration of AV and IT, which, although it has been going on for years, still requires a lot of dialogue and awareness between the different actors," he says.

The IT industry, companies, internal departments, and professionals suddenly managed AV systems that they knew little about and had to learn quickly. This allowed them to discover a panorama with many growth opportunities. "Several IT companies decided to venture into AV, incorporate staff, create new business areas, and even acquire AV integration companies to strengthen their service offerings," says Casassus.

And although this turns out to be an opportunity for the AV sector, it also brings fundamental challenges to the coexistence and convergence of both industries. "We notice that the communication between both worlds fails," he warns. "IT work is very structured, and practically everything is defined by standards, while AV work, although its standards, also include a craftwork component. In AV, we talk more with the customer and the end-user to discover the needs and the tailored experience we must provide".

Cassasus gives the example of an AV technology integration project in a boardroom. For the IT pro, it will be essential to know the network infrastructure requirements, access to WiFi, and security, among others. While for the AV pro, it will be crucial to know who will use the space and how, their age range, digital skills, frequency, and time of use of the room. The AV pro will focus on the user's perception and the integrated experience that will be lived in the boardroom. "And these differences are not always fully communicated or understood, hence the goal of the AVIXA Congress, which is to build better communication bridges between AV and IT," he says.

"If we know better what we do, we respect the limits of the job, and we communicate, then the solution and user experience will be more satisfactory. It is essential to explain how the systems work on both sides so that the relationship flows better", adds the interviewee.

The Congreso AVIXA will feature a speaker who exemplifies the ideal communication bridge. Gary Hall, CTS-D, CTS-I, Senior Director U.S. Public Sector Strategy, Operations & Market Access at Cisco Systems, will offer the keynote speech. Hall is a technology expert who lives in both industries. Along with his career at Cisco Systems, Hall was president of the Board of Directors of AVIXA (2017-18). Due to his knowledge, he holds the CTS level in the areas of Design and Installation.

"In addition to Gary Hall, we'll have many IT specialists, including Pyxis in-house experts who are very excited to share their ideas and learn about the relationship between IT and AV," adds Casassus.

Facing the convergence between both industries and understanding that communication will be strengthened with efforts such as those of the congress, we wanted to know his future vision of AV integration companies and their relationship with IT. "The AV industry will not be the same as we know it now. AV integration companies will incorporate more elements of IT with the user experience. Still, it seems that they will continue on their path, although increasingly related to IT and learning from each other", he replies. "I see it as the joint creation between an architect and an interior designer."

Finally, we asked him to share some advice for AV integration companies. "An AV integration company, small or large, must know that all solutions start with the design and assembly of the network in the space where the AV solution will be installed. Therefore, it is essential to have an IT specialist who does all the pre-planning work and makes sure that the network performs to meet the project's needs and allows the audiovisual experience to flow in the best possible way".

If you are an AV or IT pro or a solution client that involves systems and technologies from these sectors, then the Congreso AVIXA has something for you. You are invited to explore its programming and register for free through https://congreso.avixa.org/.