Audiovisual (AV) technologies are proliferating in boardrooms, classrooms, courtrooms, hospitals and almost every public venue. And increasingly the AV technologies in these locations are for Webcasting, videoconferencing, wireless media presentations and digital signage all rely on networks.

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close look at how this trend is impacting the role of IT professionals and networking-centric resellers and fueling the growth of the US$19 billion AV industry.

According to the International Communications Industries Association, Inc., (ICIA), the trade association for the professional audiovisual communications industry and the credentialing organization for the AV profession, AV applications are driving networking. In fact, IT networks are a necessary component in more than 80 per cent of AV systems designs, according to an ICIA’s AV/IT Networking Survey.

At TECHXNY 2004 Conference and Expo in New York, the Fairfax, Va.-based ICIA also conducted a survey of IT professionals who work mostly in Business/IT or Education that revealed:

  • Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of IT departments are the primary decision makers for AV purchases;
  • One-third (34 per cent) of IT departments are highly influential in the AV purchasing decision process, while 28 per cent are consulted;
  • Most (79 per cent) of IT departments spend 1-24 per cent of their time on AV support and that is expected to remain the same over the next 12 months;
  • The major concerns of AV/IT networking are compromising network stability and the reliability of network capabilities; and
  • Most (79 per cent) of respondents believe that AV company certifications are important or very important and 17 per cent only do business with certified AV providers.

These results point to the need for AV and IT professionals such as networking resellers to collaborate. AV applications rely on network connectivity, and IT relies on the design and integration of AV systems and technologies within their framework.

The AV industry in North America is projected to grow 9.6 per cent annually over the next five years, according to InfoComm’s Market Definition and Strategy Study. Driving growth is the acceleration of AV technologies that rely on network connectivity that support newer applications such as streaming media, Web casting, wireless technology, remote monitoring, data collaboration, security and asset management. The dominant sectors – business, government and education – will continue to increase their reliance on AV technologies.

IT vendors supporting this trends, according to ICIA, are Hewlett Packard,

NEC Solutions, Philips Consumer Electronics Co., Sharp Electronics Corp. and Toshiba Corp., through its TechnoRainbow initiative.

Conspicuous by their absence are powerful networking companies such as Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and 3Com Communications.

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