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Can a Hardware-Free AV Industry Exist?

July 18, 2014 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Karen Mitchell / AV Network

Is hardware in AV a disappearing act? Which came first, the ever-changing AV integration business model or advances in technology?

Firstly, hardware-free AV is a misnomer, said Rob Balgley, CEO of Mersive. "It's actually more accurate to think of it as nonproprietary hardware or commodity, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware like a Windows 7 PC or an Android platform. The benefits are more than just reductions in capital expenditure; there are also reductions in maintenance and support because the skill required to support these standardized platforms is far less specialized and subsequently less pricey.

AV designs can be simplified with standard computer platforms and software-based solutions because software offers greater flexibility resulting in less project complexity and faster deployments.

"It's also true that standard computer, graphics processing, and network technology platforms have all benefitted from the impact of Moore's Law, which states that the current pace of improvements in semiconductor technology results in the doubling of speed, capacity, and throughput every 18 months, which is not true of specialized proprietary hardware," he added. "This exponential rate of improvement, combined with cost-effective software solutions running on these standard hardware platforms, will steadily usurp traditional AV technology strongholds in control, distribution, and management systems."

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