May 27, 2022 - Remember when the way TV content arrived in our living rooms changed from broadcast to streaming over the internet? It's hard to pinpoint a date because it has been an evolving and continuing trend. Interestingly, it makes for an excellent comparison with what's happening now in the AV market in terms of speed of adaptation, reach, and popularity of AVoIP.
While many assume newer is better, a quick comparison between the two mediums – leaning on what we've learned from TV – suggests that while AVoIP is growing and impacting our life, it's not eliminating the need or desire for traditional AV.
The evolution of TV streaming
It turns out video did not entirely kill the radio star, nor did streaming put an end to cable, satellite, or over-the-air TV.
Despite steadily increasing access to streaming, traditional TV still holds the lead. For example, recent Nielson datashows that streaming accounts for 26% of consumption in the US, while broadcast and cable TV account for 64% and other content like VOD and gaming account for the remaining 10%. Additionally, while it is estimated that 65% of Americans are still paying for cable TV, according to recent consumer research, 78% of all US households pay for a streaming service – suggesting that many subscribe to both.
Clearly, despite the incredible convenience of on-demand viewing, virtually unlimited program selection, and wide choice of viewing devices, traditional TV is still holding its own against TV streaming. That's because broadcast still has advantages like familiarity, stable prices, and no strain on the family's internet bandwidth.
Three lessons we can learn for the AVoIP market
The AVoIP market of today echoes the TV market of a few years ago, and we can expect it to evolve similarly in several respects.
At this point, AVoIP has comfortably moved out of the early adaption stage and is now a rapidly growing market, particularly for mature organizations and large installations in government, education, and enterprise.
This means exciting times for AVoIP, with three key lessons from the TV market that apply:
- Traditional is good, but new technology has advantages – While traditional Pro AV will remain relevant for the foreseeable future, AVoIP has distinct advantages. These include flexibility and scalability, how quickly it can be deployed, the ability to support hundreds of endpoints, network security, remote support, and more. Plus, it doesn't need special infrastructure and reduces the total cost of ownership, especially in large installations. Recently introduced standards enable more connected smart devices, cloud-based services, and mobile devices. This is placing increasing demand on IT network bandwidth, requiring them to evolve to support the load from AV applications.
- Existing equipment is (just) part of the equation – Leveraging existing investments is always a consideration, but it is also important to consider the current use-cases and future plans. If there is good equipment or infrastructure already in place and the company is not looking to expand, then traditional AV can be a good choice. Where growth and new, hybrid use cases are anticipated, or the site is an entirely new build, AVoIP is the preferred choice due to its scalability and flexibility. This includes site expansions, such as additional buildings on a campus or new floors added to an office space.
- The two technologies will continue to co-exist – It's not AVoIP or bust. The shift is happening, but in the enterprise AV market there is room for both AV and AVoIP, and there will be for many years to come. In fact, like most of us watch TV on more than one platform, in many cases, both AV and AVoIP will work together harmoniously, each filling their unique roles.
Bottom line, traditional AV still has uses, but the move to AVoIP has many advantages. For it to become the standard, however, AV and IT departments must change their mindset and work together to ensure the best solution is chosen for the long haul.
The question then is: how do you see AVoIP fitting in?
Menachem Vinokur is Senior Product Line Manager at Kramer, leading the AVoIP HW / SW product line for mission-critical applications.
By Menachem Vinokur & Barak Ben Or