Cloud services have been widely talked about along with the convergence of IT and AV. As AV designers look for ways to incorporate sustainability and cost control, the benefits of cloud services make more sense than ever. Any equipment that needs to be networked can use the cloud. Presentation systems, video conferencing, unified communications and system control can all utilize a cloud-based network.
The entire spectrum of AV equipment from PCs and tablets to larger displays and projectors can use content hosted on remote secure servers. The advantage for AV is the ability to control, administer and monitor systems with central access.
Managing online software is a snap without heavy reliance on IT staff making the ongoing operation easy and cost-effective. Live events can benefit from streaming video to subscribers as a live broadcast or as an on-demand video. A network of digital signage can be managed with minimal staff while affording interactivity and user generated content.
For the AV Pro, control and monitoring software can help keep tabs on power consumption, temperature and other remote device management. Besides the potential for time and cost savings, the cloud management can easily help operators manage their carbon footprint with quick response.
Moving to a cloud-based network, the issues of scaling and recovery are left to the cloud services and the IT professionals who run it. Cloud solutions have back up power, replicated data centers around the globe and systems that automatically kick in when there’s a failure for instant restoration.
Regular maintenance, security patches and updates are also left to the cloud-host saving clients the capital investments usually required with purchasing and maintaining in-house servers. In most cases, cloud-based solutions only need an appliance installed at the client site which uses even less energy than a server.
Cloud-based services and Software As A Service (SaaS) also allow for smaller organizations to scale up their AV systems with the lower investment and ongoing operating costs. All of the data and content is always kept up to date without the need to ‘sync’ or worry about hard drive capacity.
Integrators do need to get training on configuring these cloud based services into their AV design, so they can advise clients properly. However the opportunity to focus on the audio visual aspect and less on the IT requirements makes for smoother project management and a better experience for everybody for implementation and for ongoing support during operation.