Commercial Integrator Magazine April 14, 2017

AV-over-IP: ZeeVee Takes Stock of Transition

ZeeVee CEO compares video distribution’s transition to AV-over-IP to the transition from analog to digital. Explains why ZeeVee joined SDVoE. Discusses AV-over-IP-related business opportunities. 

ZeeVee isn’t an AV-over-IP company. In fact, it’s best not to label ZeeVee. It definitely started out as a coax video distribution company. It has since added fiber-based video distribution and AV-over-IP. So if you have to label ZeeVee, it’s a company that tries to have a solution for whatever an integrator’s needs might be based on the project venue or the customer’s specific demands.

Increasingly, the solution in both cases is AV-over-IP.

 

Staff members find themselves answering a lot of questions about ZeeVee’s Zyper AV-over-IP solution. CEO Bob Michaels says he really noticed a difference between how AV-over-IP was perceived at Integrated Systems Europe 2016 versus the previous year.

“At ISE last year I saw IP lip service and there were a lot of questions about internal networks and talking about the IT guy saying no [to AV-over-IP],” he says.  At ISE 2017, however, “it was more like, ‘You can do it but you have to do it the right way.’”

In terms of the “right way,” ZeeVee saw it valuable to become a member of the Software Defined Video Over Ethernet (SDVoE) Alliance. During ISE 2017 where SDVoE officially made its debut ZeeVee focused on a ZyPer AV-over-IP training program with InfoComm credits.

Despite ZeeVee and SDVoE focusing on addressing networking demands Michaels will be the first to tell you that many in the industry are still tentative. He recently discussed the integration industry’s cautious embrace of AV-over-IP and ZeeVee’s role as a solutions provider.

Here are highlights from that conversation with ZeeVee’s Michaels:

 

AV-over-IP Transition

  • It’s not like the writing hasn’t been on the wall about the move to IP for quite some time, Michaels says. “So we took a leap of faith.”
  • That leap of faith didn’t involve HDBaseT, another standard besides SDVoE for transmitting AV over IP.
  • On the horizon, “we see the demise of the matrix switcher.”
  • “How will the industry solve its video problem? It will throw bandwidth at it.”

AV-over-IP Hesitancy

There is certainly fear in the integration community when it comes to AV over IP, according to Michaels. For one thing, they’re wondering how they’ll make money off it.

The industry went through something similar when we went from analog to digital, he says. “Integrators knew their value in the analog world.” In the digital world, however, the fear was that systems either work or they don’t and it’s difficult for a custom integrator to provide value.

“They’re wondering, ‘What do I do with my technical staff?'” he says. “When integrators hear ‘plug-and-play’ there’s a fear.”

But AV-over-IP solutions such as ZeeVee’s Zyper aren’t plug-and-play, he says. “There is value for integrators. The smart and creative ones will survive.”

Meanwhile, the transformation “will pick up steam “ as integrators and their customers’ IT departments get more comfortable with AV-over-IP – and they will.

 

AV-over-IP Embrace

Much like smart integration firms figured out how digital solutions could create new opportunities that didn’t exist in the analog world, Michaels sees the same potential in embracing AV-over-IP.

He describes a typical pre-AV-over-IP project, one that perhaps takes three weeks to design, two weeks to build and two weeks to install, dedicating well-trained staff.

 

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