Buckle up with AV for the new IT gold rush

Money from different countries in a pile

A recent survey suggests one of the most pressing of today’s CIO concerns is making sense of the complexity of their IT infrastructures.

With IT having undergone so much dramatic change over the past decade, the vendors, integrators and distributors at the head of the pack are those that can genuinely deliver on each and every element of the today’s IT ecosystem – where digital transformation has completely changed the way it works.

This ‘Disruption IT’ age, began with the consumerisation of business IT. Driven by developments in the quality of consumer media delivery and reduced pricing levels for its consumption, the most obvious disruptions were initially apparent in the publishing, music and film industries, of course.

The Audio Visual technology industry has been the first to witness the impact of this disruption, for obvious reasons, and much of its product proposition now exists in a technology driven solution selling world. This of course, is the same world where the latest breed of IT professionals now see themselves as business innovators instead of system purchasers, installers and maintainers.

With the impact of cloud, mobile, Big Data, social media and the Internet of Things, this environment is about to witness a second similar boost, with the type of change that typically occurs every 15 years or so in IT.

With IT becoming pervasively digital, the channel approach will move even further away from the traditional hardware, software, or ‘solution selling’ approaches – In the Age of IT Disruption, it will be about selling disruption itself.

Since the 90s, when IT become more about knowledge and understanding of specific vertical markets and the ability to understand a client’s business, channel players and IT integrators have already had had a strong degree of scope to adapt to this change.

With this latest wave of disruption, the average channel professional will be forced to become even more of a business consultant, with the knowledge and expertise to make a company or business unit a disruptive force in its own right.

Smart CIOs and IT managers have already started repositioning their roles to focus more on business innovation in this way. The process of shedding manpower and CAPEX expenditures to outsource and go agile and lean, began some time ago with early recognition of the benefits of the cloud.

Consequently, GenX and millennial integrators at the head of the pack have also recognised that the key to success is tying together the businesses, organisational, operational and IT objectives of their clients.

The AV market is sitting right at the very centre of this this change – and this offers considerable potential for convergence savvy IT and AV channel players who ‘get’ the new IT and its potential impact on the IT landscape.

The likes of Google and Apple have also been adapting and getting up to speed with this new approach for some time now, through their shared philosophy that ‘software’ eats everything. By replacing traditional solutions with the likes of Nest, Dropcam and AirPlay they’ve seen the IT / AV collision coming early, and are rapidly removing the historical mystique of audio and video tech.

The new breed of IT integrators also realise that the products and services they’re now selling to business clients are easily recognisable from their own their consumer lives.

At the same time IT itself is actually reinventing AV according to its own vision, by creating increasingly IT-orientated audio technologies that started with Audio-over-IP and Video-over-IP capabilities.

From the way people consume information to the way meetings will be conducted, digital disruption and the corresponding collision of IT and AV about to influence everything.

With businesses and consumers increasingly seeking tools and technologies that equip them with information at the right moment and location in time, room based IT/AV tech will become just one of the initial links in the chain, as society becoming increasingly mobile. Influence around the Internet of Things, and the use of new technologies like sensors and wearable technology will also invigorate the collision of these two complimentary technologies, transforming we way we live and work together.

With the new Disruption IT age approaching fast, the IT / AV integration market is set to explode – and those at the head of the curve are ahead of the game.

Mike Blackman is CEO, Integrated Systems Europe 2016