AV/IT Convergence in the Control Room: What You Need to Know
There are a few places where AV/IT converge as comprehensively as in a control room. Increasingly, AV integrators will need extensive knowledge in both AV and IT as these two disciplines continue to intertwine. Control room spaces are where this convergence can be seen clearly.
Business opportunity in this sector is on the rise. Control rooms, along with subcategories of command and control, and surveillance are areas where outlay is on the increase. As an AV integrator, here is what you need to know to gain or increase a foothold in this lucrative market.
IT assets are no longer tied to an edge device or server in the back of the office. They are accessible anywhere, often wirelessly on anything via a centrally managed service from the cloud. With more information to share and faster timelines for getting things done, AV can be a big part of that IT streamlining process.
Convergence on the Video Wall
The video wall is both the hub of the control room and the most obvious point of AV/IT convergence. In critical situations, whether for the government, air traffic, or even a theme park, information and images need to be transmitted back and forth from individual consoles to the video wall without lag or disruption. In control rooms focused on surveillance, 24/7 seamless operability is a must.
To deliver high-performance images and other data, systems integrators need to hone skills toward solutions like KVM over IP extenders and matrix switches. Ideally, the transmitting of data and visual details will happen in resolution approaching 4K to optimize collaboration and response.
For any control room, network security is a primary concern. AV/IT convergence is occurring in a time of increased awareness of and concern around data privacy. Working with clients on comprehensive strategies will ensure proper network safeguards are in place.
In most any control room, but especially in military and other government facilities, sensitive information flows in and out of control rooms constantly. Data needs to be available to those with proper clearance and secured from those without that clearance. Beyond clearance levels, there are issues of securing data from bad actors, hackers, anyone who would use sensitive information or trade secrets for illegal gain or do harm.
Securing the network happens on multiple fronts. The AV integrator will have to utilize KVM products that provide secure, reliable access to any system across multiple security domains for 24/7 operation. Encryption and authentication practices and protocols will need to be put in place. If needed – and it would likely be needed – secure remote access to control room data should be configured.
Control rooms are not static environments. Equipment, hardware and software, even the physical configuration of the space will be fluid – always a work in progress. So as AV/IT convergence continues, scalability should be a key consideration.
Some questions to ask: What are the likely near future needs of the organization as it relates to the control room? Where is IT and IOT likely to progress near-term? How will these factors affect the control room set-up? With a solid handle on AV/IT convergence, you will have a leg up on the competition if you can anticipate potential outcomes and make suggestions regarding scalability.
Get On Board
The AV/IT convergence train has left the station. There are abundant opportunities in the control room sector and well beyond. To take advantage of these opportunities, integrators should put emphasis on IT education and/or develop strategic partnerships with IT professionals who will work with you to develop usable, secure, scalable control room environments.