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Can Youtube Promote Convergence?

Could Google's purchase of YouTube help networked video go mainstream?

For the same reason, pro AV equipment manufacturers also play a role. There's comfort in how pro AV has been done in the past, and fundamental change seems to always take time in our marketplace.

And it's not just the AV providers. There's also resistance on the end-user's side. There are lots of legacy systems out there, and many of them are still being used without upgrades after seven or more years. In any case, there's infrastructure and investment that owners aren't ready, willing, and/or able to rework — at least not as a complete technological makeover.

And non-technical end-users — the ones using AV systems to communicate their ideas — are yet another factor. Although there have been light-years of technological change in the past decade, presenters have only grown 10 years older (and many of them weren't very young or tech-savvy to begin with). Many presenters are unwilling or unable to adapt to and embrace the possibilities that current technologies allow for today.

Yet to be fair, even the efforts of the willing and able have been thwarted as a result of inadequate system design, maintenance, support, or training for the AV systems they've been using.

In any case, working with online video and audio sources isn't seen as a desirable option, and PowerPoint — for better or for worse — is often as far as they get. Audio stays on CD, and video still comes off of a DVD in many cases. And digital rights management only adds to the problem.

Crossing the chasm — again

That said, we need to keep in mind that many AV providers and mainstream end-users may still be hampered by their slower-paced technological past. As the presenters, IT professionals, and AV professionals of today pass their torches to the next generation, perceptions will change.

While the old guard was educated either before or during the infancy of the World Wide Web, and perhaps even pro AV, the new group will know no other environment than a media-rich, networked one.

Today's kids use PowerPoint as a matter of course in grade school. Almost all of their music, video, and news is online. Instant messaging is routine for them and often includes videoconferencing. Wired and wireless networking is an everyday task.

This new generation will likely be much more eager to work with AV on the network than to accommodate ancient analog technology — or even not-so-ancient, troublesome, non-network, and sometimes proprietary digital technology.

This is why the YouTube sale is significant to the pro AV industry. Even grandparents know what Google is, either as a proper noun or a simple verb. Bringing video into the more user-friendly and accessible online environment that both Google and Apple tend to create could play a big role in getting more people to accept video storage, transport, and distribution on the network as the norm. Microsoft and Cisco paying more attention to AV could be yet another driving force.



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