By Corey Moss
The Internet of Things, it’s an almost unavoidable conversation in the tech world, as well as the audio visual industry as we move forward in terms of technology advancement.
Over time, while the “connected things” IoT conversation has continued to flourish, it’s also become more of a conversation of efficiency and productivity in business. The consumer discussion of wearables, self-driving cars, home automation and more of course carries a great importance, however the directed business enterprise view will be what carries the IoT conversation through the commercial industry. Sure, we can look at the prospects of voice control in the office, however when we focus too much on a single topic, we for certain miss out on a much greater picture. Although hold that thought for the time being.
Three of the tech giants, and the view of IoT:
Microsoft: When you connect your business with IoT, the opportunities are endless.
- Bring your business together in new insightful ways with the Internet of Things (IoT)—from increasing process efficiencies to delivering better customer experiences to generating new revenue streams.
Cisco: The IoT links objects to the Internet, enabling data and insights never available before.
- Connecting everything drives positive business results. Create new revenue opportunities and lower operational costs by managing your connected devices.
IBM: The Internet of Things becomes the Internet that thinks with Watson IoT.
- Stop thinking about IoT solutions. Start building IoT solutions that think.
Now why do I reference this here – on Convergent AV? The industry has continued to explore IoT and how it has certain fits to how we work and how we can achieve end goals. InfoComm explored it last year with IoT Insights, with a keynote address delivered by industry expert Gary Hall CTS-D, CTS-I, Federal Strategy, Planning and Operations Leader at Cisco – a statement from him:
“When you take a video camera or a microphone, miniaturize it and put it on a sensor, then have it connect back to hundreds of other sensors, it gives you a brand-new capability that never existed before: the ability to do things better.”
Industry distributor Almo Pro A/V has included the topic front and center in their E4 AV Tour stops this year, the conference putting IoT in context for AV professionals, focusing on the potential opportunities in what they state as a ‘burgeoning technology field.’
With that ”burgeoning’ statement in mind, we can refer back to the above from the three tech giants, where there is no doubt that IoT continues to be a field of technology to watch, and ride upon as well. As commercial AV continues to explore ways to merge with IT, the same can apply to IoT and the overall prospects, and possibilities which that technology realm can bring.
When the industry thinks about Cisco, it mostly thinks about videoconferencing and an interactive display board, that being the new Cisco Spark Board (which won a well-deserved award at Enterprise Connect). When the industry thinks about Microsoft, Skype for Business and the Surface Hub come to mind. As for IBM, I’m not sure the industry gives them too much thought, however an announcement made in February about Ricoh and IBM teaming to create a cognitive whiteboard with Watson technology could open some eyes pretty wide – as IBM stated that they were installing more than 80 Ricoh whiteboards in their new Watson IoT headquarters in Munich, Germany.
The whiteboards enable IBM’s product development teams in Munich to hold meetings with other employees, partners, and customers in other locations across the world – and ensure that data and information collected within meetings is not lost.
The new interactive whiteboard uses Watson intelligence and voice technologies to support meetings by responding to commands, taking notes and actions and even translating those meetings into other languages. Watson doesn’t just listen, but is an active meeting participant, using real-time analytics to help guide discussions so teams can make faster, better and more informed decisions.
Where I asked you to keep voice in mind, here is a business case involving intelligence and voice technology built into a known AV industry type of solution (the interactive whiteboard) which brings true IoT capabilities in terms of real-time meeting analytics as well as data collection. I wrote this blog recently about the current state of interactive display technologies in the industry – this was referred to at the end with ‘Then there’s one that employs IBM Watson-powered technology – however that’s a story for another day.’
Here’s that other day.
If we focus on the possibilities and potential of IoT where businesses can prosper from such digital transformation, albeit here in an interactive whiteboard with Watson “IoT that thinks” capabilities, we find a great pathway toward IoT as a true resource for forward progress in commercial AV.
If we do however reach outside of the AV space to look at Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon (AWS) and others with the IoT solutions that they have to offer, it’s a situation of building that merge with the technology realm — or should I say why should it be stuck within only what’s offered in the industry?
Going back to the IT merge story, we only grow as an industry when we explore beyond the bounds of what we have historically known as the conventional. For IoT, the same does apply, and we do concern ourselves with security and privacy, which of course is a must.
More discussion to come on the subject.
With almost 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent Tech – online publications Convergent Tech Blog and Convergent AV, and consulting. Corey writes for the publications and hosts/produces podcasts – Convergent Tech Blog Discussion (on Convergent Tech Blog) and The AV Life, The Edge of AV, EdTech Focus and The Show Corner all on Convergent AV. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers.