As businesses strive to maximize their efficiency and profitability, having easy-to-use A/V systems and secure IT systems has become increasingly important. But traditionally, IT and AV systems have been siloed in different departments. With the development of AVoIP (A/V over IP), businesses can now integrate their IT and AV systems into one single, unified system that allows for not only more flexibility in systems design, but an efficient way to run power to multiple devices.
AVoIP is a form of digital communication technology that enables audio and video signals to be sent and encoded over standard Ethernet cables. The data is then decoded and converted back into audio and video signals, allowing for the direct transmission of high-quality video and audio.
Benefits of AVoIP Systems
A key benefit to AVoIP is the flexibility of its design. Unlike traditional HDMI or HDBaseT AV switchers, an IP switcher offers bi-directional data streaming on each of its RJ45 ports, offering a distinct advantage in its design flexibility. The former has fixed configurations and directions of data flow which can't be changed once they are installed (16x16, 8x4, 8x8, etc). However, a 48 port IP switch can create any matrix ratio as long as X+Y is not higher than 48. This means that if you wanted to run 1 input and 47 outputs, it's a total possibility.
Another thing to note about flexibility; not only does every port work bi-directionally, but it can take a multitude of different inputs. Again, it does this by using the network cable to transmit data, but uses IP addresses to organize and retain the type of input. For example, take a look at the Q-SYS system below. It not only has the network cameras plugged in through the network, but the ceiling microphone as well.
This also means that with AVoIP, you can use multiple vendors in the same system. Have a camera you prefer over another? Use it!
PoE (power over ethernet) is the last key benefactor to AVoIP systems. Not only do your devices interconnect through the IP switch, it allows for them to be powered by them as well. And in the usual IP splitter fashion, that power can still go both ways. For example, here's another graph that shows how power can be distributed through an IP switcher:
Security Concerns of AVoIP Systems
In the office environment, securing the information we send and receive on the daily becomes a large concern, as the actions of someone secretly accessing confidential data can be disastrous. And especially with the newfound convergence of both technological forms, it's easy to realize there could be newfound security problems.
There's multiple ways you can secure an AVoIP system. If you want, you have the option to run it directly into your main communications network, or completely separately depending on what you think is best for your network's security. You also have the ability to encrypt your network, or even restrict input only to button presses on specific devices if absolutely need to.
Is it currently the norm to see AV and IT departments intertwined? Not yet, but especially as larger companies are adopting it, it may eventually be in the next ten years. With technology ever integrating itself into our own lives, it is key for businesses to streamline their operations and reduce their expenses while taking advantage of the latest technology.
If you're interested in adopting an AVoIP system into your office operations, feel free to contact us at the click of this button! We'd love to help you out on your next project.