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Content Is Critical

The fact that Sony recently appointed Howard Stringer as the company's first non-Japanese chairman is not as fascinating because of his nationality (he's Welsh) as it is because of his background, which includes network news and high-level positions within the American Film Institute.

The fact that Sony recently appointed Howard Stringer as the company's first non-Japanese chairman is not as fascinating because of his nationality (he's Welsh) as it is because of his background, which includes network news and high-level positions within the American Film Institute. He's a content guy — the “software” that runs on the technology hardware for which Sony is best known. His college degrees are in history, rather than in electronics. Shocking? Not necessarily.

Sony is another example of a major company that acknowledges the old adage that “content is king.” To companies like Sony, the “C” word means the convergence of entertainment and technology — and the engine driving both is content. Like many future-thinking giant corporations in various industries, Sony is recognizing it's in the content business. In fact, so are we.

I know — you thought you designed and sold AV systems or entertainment and presentation technology. But ultimately, end-users don't listen to the sound system they bought or watch the projector you sold them. To them, the product is the content that your systems deliver. This is a wake-up call to many of us who got into the business because we're gadget-freaks. But making this transition could mean your survival in this business.

There must be a Moore's Law corollary about content creation because content seems to expand at a rate just a bit faster than the technology that's necessary to manage it. Our customers are beginning to require that all of this content (lectures, sales presentations, religious services, promotional messages, entertainment, etc.) be saved, stored, and accessible on demand. And this is your role in this evolving world of pro AV. Whether you're designing digital signage, distance learning, background/foreground music, or house of worship systems, content management is a common need for your customers — and a potential new source of revenue for you.

Products like digital media recorders and servers are important AV technologies, too, and they're starting to become more visible at our trade shows and in our industry publications. Don't ignore them just because they sound like computer products the IT guys should handle —digital content servers are becoming the essential core of many pro AV installations. Because of the sheer volume and complexity of digital content, the means to store, access, and move content really is the new frontier of AV technology.

Mark Mayfield
Editor



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