Technology Record - Issue 31: Winter 2023

128 INTERVIEW Successfully fusing AV and IT Pam Taggart discusses the convergence of audiovisual and IT and explains how AVIXA’s new training course will equip administrators with the skills they need to address the challenges it causes Having a strong combined audiovisual (AV) and IT skillset has become critical for IT professionals. “Every year we see the gap between AV and IT narrowing as skillsets converge,” says Pam Taggart, vice president of content creation at the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA). “AV is increasingly moving onto the network, but understanding how AV operates in a physical space, in addition to cable, is vital to effectively serving customers.” For example, the MSG Sphere at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, benefits from a blend of AV and IT technologies. The 15,000-square-metre venue, built to deliver 16K high-definition video and audio experiences via 164,000 speakers, uses an entire system build on internet protocol (IP) to process uncompressed video. “It is becoming very common for an IT-trained individual to be responsible for audio, video and lighting since all of those jobs need AV network knowledge,” says Taggart. “Many IT professionals were launched into the realms of AV and unfamiliar protocols, needs and requirements due to the rise in businesses streaming corporate addresses from their CEOs to employees, the ubiquitous use of hybrid meeting tools and spaces, the flexibility of networked audio and digital signage for multiple applications, and cybersecurity concerns extending to audio and video applications. “AVIXA has also seen a rise in individuals with an IT background attending our InfoComm show, webinars or courses, all looking to develop AV networking skillsets to address pain points in their daily work. While we had addressed AV networking from the AV professional’s perspective, we hadn’t referred to it in our courses focused on the IT viewpoint.” Consequently, AVIXA has launched a new training and certification programme called ‘AV for IT pros’ to help individuals understand the convergence of IT with AV. The course is designed to reflect what IT professionals care about the most when it comes to AV. “The course will help participants understand the work processes between AV and IT by covering the essential strategies for accommodating AV within existing IT networks, AV control systems and managing AV traffic and bandwidth,” says Taggart. The course will gradually cover these aspects across five one-hour e-learning sessions. For example, the first session will cover the roles of IT and AV, whilst the second will highlight how to prepare an IT network for AV. “Decisions around static and/or dynamic IP addressing will then be covered in the third session,” says Taggart. “Then we’ll move onto network planning, firewall configuration and quality of service work to ensure appropriate bandwidth and minimise latency, troubleshooting and security auditing. None of these terms or steps would be unfamiliar BY ALICE CHAMBERS “ Individuals from IT backgrounds are typically less familiar with protocols for AV control”