AVL Networking: Learning The Standards of IT

Regardless of what happens as our industry merges with IT, we need to realize that with them being much larger than the AV industry, we have everything to prove.

AVL Networking: Learning The Standards of IT
Every device as shown in this picture is connected and running audio, video and lighting on the network at Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville.

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We all say it, but it is time to really believe it … networked AVL is not going away.

It is often mistakenly said that IT has entered into the AV market. Instead, we should be saying that AV has entered the IT market.

And it’s quickly becoming more common than not.

I have to admit that sometimes when I am working on a networked AV system, that I wish things were back to the “good ol’ days,” where it was just point A to point B, and nothing but some copper in between.

Thinking back, it really made troubleshooting a bit easier, but our world is changing.

It is often mistakenly said that IT has entered into the AV market. Instead, we should be saying that AV has entered the IT market.

And in that market, we are small potatoes.

The IT industry is measured in the trillions of dollars. By contrast, the pro AV industry is measured in the low billions.

When we talk about how big IT is, we should really keep this in our minds, as we seemingly force our way into an industry that has already spent a great deal of time and money developing their own standards that may or may not align with ours.

When Target’s network was breached back in 2013, it gained massive attention in the public eye, of something that was an IT issue all along. Security quickly became the hot topic and has remained so, as various networks across the country find themselves being breached. Because of this, basic network practices that should have been implemented all along, are now being strictly enforced.

At the same time, the tech giants are developing ways of changing the way our networks communicate that can be very damaging to AV, as we see it now. IT is working in the name of security to ultimately not let packets be transmitted across their respective networks, without a level of authentication. AV relies very heavily on a broad blast of packets out to many devices. This change itself can cause a significant disruption in our industry.

This topic is very relevant to me right now, because I am pretty fresh off an implementation that was the most progressive design with respect to network integration that I have ever done. I jumped in with both feet, and hoped that I came out on the other side, without too many bumps and bruises.

In this implementation, I found myself working with the infrastructure and network architect teams as much as anyone else on the project.


More About Tom Noble
Tom Noble received his Bachelor of Science in Acoustics from Columbia College in Chicago. During college, he served as a researcher for the Army Corps of Engineers with a specific focus on Low-Frequency Propagation. After college, he owned his own company working with churches and other AV clients. One of his favorite jobs during that time was being able to design and build a recording studio in downtown Nashville. Shortly after, he worked for an integrator, doing work all over the country, specializing in DSP programming and tuning of rooms for many churches and large corporate clients. He is now the head AV design engineer for Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville. He is married to his beautiful wife with an amazing son and beautiful little daughter.
Get in Touch: tom.noble@lifeway.com    More by Tom Noble

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For Lighting Design, What Software Is The Right Match For Your Needs? (Part 3)
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