More than Simply Safe, and Sound
- By Brian Pickowitz
- Nov 29, 2021
Security is a consideration in the evaluation of all technology today. We want to make sure that every device is physically secure, that control of the device is secured, and that the data going to and from the device is also secure. This applies as much to a new EV as it does to a surveillance camera, and it certainly applies to AV technology.
Some would argue that data is the most critical asset to secure. This is why AV systems in conferencing environments from the White House to industry, are among the highest-priority realms for security professionals. Coming in a close second are the environments where AV serves a critical life-safety or communications function — venues like stadia, transportation hubs and educational environments where the wrong message over an AV system could cause chaos and send people toward danger. Third, security of AV technology is a consideration where the content — whether it is a movie, sports event or new song — is rights-protected and a hack could lead to a loss-inducing piracy event.
The confluence of security and AV is further accelerated — especially in the residential space — by the fact that security dealers are now being asked by clients to provide a broader array of low-voltage services. If rolling a truck and climbing a ladder to install a camera is a small ask, the ask to also install a loudspeaker is not a big one and with the increasing instance of AVoIP, network topology is quite similar and security integrators have less requirement to know arcane AV protocols and I/Os. There remains a strong case for discrete AV and security networks but the commonalities suggest that security dealers have strong opportunities to grow their business just as AV dealers are increasingly looking at security as an opportunity.
The Cloud presents considerable opportunities for both groups. Historically, security dealers have done an excellent job of going beyond system, design, deployment and commissioning into service contracts that yield Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR). Now with cloud technology that enables systems integrators to monitor, optimize and troubleshoot AV systems performance, the growth opportunity is strong, and so residential and commercial customers can have whole system monitoring and control without the need to roll a truck.
The confluence of AV and security is the embodiment in the new IEEE 802.1X standard for port-based network control that provides a higher level of authentication. Major tech brands are also required to furnish this technology for their AV systems. These are the organizations at the cutting edge of security and AV so their insistence on IEEE 802.1X compliance is indicative that it would not be long before compliance is universally required.
AV is also playing a new and important role in securing the welfare of building occupants in the same way that physical security and access control technologies secure the buildings themselves. AV systems including audio and video technologies are used to communicate health protocols and systems for managing populations within a building.
Dealer/integrators recognize the market dynamics around the confluence of low voltage disciplines, the emergence of the cloud, the increased need for cyber-security and pandemic-related changes to consumer/commercial behavior and how an integration business should be operated.
There is new entrepreneurship and resilience among the dealer community as businesses address these changes, and there seems to be a new willingness to look at new brands, like LEA Professional, who have ascended from start-up to global player over the course of a few short years. Having established the trust of AV and security integrators, our responsibility to build on that trust and forge new relationships with new high-performing, highly secure solutions that are remotely monitored and controlled to facilitate those new revenue models.