The Future of AV’s Role in UCC

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COVID-19 is accelerating the need for UCC solutions provided by AV integrators as the world ponders about the workplace of the future.

The office isn’t going to look the same when we go back, and that includes technology and how we use it to communicate.

Now more than ever, AV integrators can bring an unmatched expertise and skillet to make sure unified communications and collaboration solutions are meeting the changing needs and increasing demands of their end user customers, according to a panel of experts at an InfoComm 2020 Connected session.

According to Julian Phillips, senior vice president of global workplace solutions at AVI-SPL, it’s not entirely different from what the AV industry has been doing for years.

“It’s the exact same role we’ve been playing over the last 30 years,” Phillips says.

In a nutshell, AV integrators help customers share content and ensure voices, faces and identities are shared – in real time.

“And that skill set is just as relevant in the cloud, fully integrated UCC world,” Phillips says. “And so therefore, I’m very encouraged and very excited by the role that AV integrators have moved forward.”

UCC Designed for Remote Work

Nick Nienaber, head of audiovisual infrastructure for WeWork, says AV and UCC solutions designed for WeWork facilities were designed for remote support years ago.

That first line of support, he said, was remote management and monitoring capabilities

“The first line of support was always going to be a network check, it was always going to be a login on the device that as much as possible, these devices can be monitored, managed and even deployed remotely with as few touches by a human being as possible,” Nienaber says.

However, a bring-your-own-device scenario makes videoconferencing-as-a-service difficult to accommodate. WeWork offers it to its enterprise members given the customer is unified under one platform.

However, a co-working space makes it difficult to build a system that will support different platforms.

Now, the problem is adapting – quickly – to infrastructure already installed to provider more remote on ramps and pathways for remote collaboration.

That includes significant feedback from support teams, Nienaber says.

“Not just my engineers, but member support, customer support technical support and everybody who actually hears from the end user about what the problem is,” Nienaber says. “Those people are more important than ever right now to make sure we’re designing in a rational way that helps people.”

Be proactive about AV’s role in workplace design

Historically, AV integration firms are typically one of the last few contractors that make it into a building.

According to Phillips, buildings are usually designed in silos: the building, architecture, infrastructure and interior are designed separately from one another.

“As most of us in the AV world know, we’re the ones that come in at the end, and have very little influence over what their ultimate collaborative collaboration design is,” Phillips says. “That will change.”

However, that will mean being proactive and making sure AV is part of the solution early on.

Architects and interior designers will need that expertise from the AV/IT world if they will truly optimize the workplace experience.

“So, I think the opportunity is for integrated design and development,” Phillips says. “But we have to make that change. We can’t expect it just to happen.”