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Tablets, iOS, and Pro AV

Mar 14, 2012 9:51 AM, By Cynthia Wisehart


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There’s no doubt about the influence of tablet culture and technology on pro AV. You can look at the new ModeroX panoramic touchpanel from AMX—it has a big, capacitive surface that is a radical departure from legacy touchscreen design. But just as interesting, its integration of near-field technology anticipates the growing trend of personalization, acknowledging that people will want to interact with installed systems via their own device on their own terms.

You can look at Extron’s new MediaLink and TouchLink for iPad to understand that iOS has arrived as part of the nuts and bolts of the pro AV ecosystem. This approach neatly turns the iPad into an additional point of control, and leverages the wireless power that comes naturally with these devices. Extron’s iGVE further allows users to effectively manage and control large-scale AV installations from iPhone and iPod Touch devices—more evidence that devices can be a bridge between empowered users and professional systems.

The reality is this: End-users now carry a personal AV device in their pocket or under their arm, they now have the expectation of controlling their workflow and environment with an AV device, and these devices put everyone on the network as a participant, not just a user. It’s one of the most important game changers in our industry since conduit.

The control companies understand this. As Kevan Ferguson, marketing communications specialist at AMX, wryly points out, “We use these devices too.” Beyond that, our control companies have been interacting with Apple infrastructure off and on throughout history; now they’re once again rapidly adapting to new cultural and technical realities.

As a practical matter, the user experience has been elevated and defined by Apple, says Jeffrey Singer, marketing communications director at Crestron. “For years our industry talked about establishing a dashboard for control; or GUI standard. We never really did. Now, everyone has specific expectations regarding graphics, icons, multi-touch control, gestures, etc. From a product design perspective, we’ve changed from resistive to capacitive screens to accommodate user expectations. We’ve redesigned our GUIs and navigation to closely align with the Apple standard.” Singer points out that in addition to defining GUI expectations, devices are accelerating the importance of wireless and cloud computing for pro AV, in turn raising the importance of commercial-grade technical solutions for security, content protection, asset management and distribution, and interoperability especially among HD devices, from content capture to teleconference.

“These are just minor growing pains,” Singer concludes. “Mobile devices are here to stay, and they are not just consumer toys. They represent a cultural paradigm shift and there’s no going back. So, for us and the rest of our industry, we need to look beyond apps and think about how we can integrate these devices into our systems just like they’ve already been integrated into our personal lives.”





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