Enterprise technologies have been tasked with meeting the shifting criteria of the modern workforce. This much was true before the pandemic – but Covid-19 truly turned the working environment on its head and brought these issues squarely to the front. Networking infrastructure is being constantly tested as remote and hybrid work becomes the norm. InfoComm 2023 will catapult many emerging solutions into the spotlight and spark discussions on how business needs will continue to evolve. Importantly, it will also consider how AV vendors and integrators can prepare for these advancements.
The primary difference between the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic workforce is that now, location is not integral to an enterprise. A good chunk of the workforce operates under at least a hybrid working pattern, meaning ensuring everybody has the same experience is essential. With AV devices being the primary tool of remote collaboration, reliable and flexible connectivity is now a high priority for enterprises. Only through the seamless integration of these solutions can employee contributions reach a level playing field.
Naturally, wireless communications will play a huge role in guaranteeing equity. Wireless connectivity meets modern enterprises' most pressing needs: greater flexibility, agility, reduced complexity, and lowered costs. The launch of the latest generation of Wi-Fi, coupled with the allocation of new spectrum in the 6GHz band, has enabled Wi-Fi 6/Wi-Fi 6 E to deliver higher data rates and greater capacity.
For mobile technologies, 5G is poised for take-off. The rollout of 5G networks continues to gather pace as the technology becomes widely touted as the next decade's prevalent mobile technology. North America and Europe are the first to benefit from the rollout of 5G, with other regions increasingly closing the gap. 5G services are now live in all regions – but until it is widespread, achieving global workplace equity could be tricky.
The influx of technology can offer enormous benefits to enterprises. But for IT teams, managing these services will be no small task. Most small and medium enterprises aren’t equipped with large IT teams with detailed knowledge of emerging connectivity solutions. That’s without mentioning the challenge of integrating these solutions into company architecture.
This is spearheading the launch of “Managed Wi-Fi” providers (MSP). Services like these should provide businesses with a reliable, secure, high-performing Wi-Fi network tailored to their needs. The MSP will also provide a service wrapper to monitor and maintain the network. Any cyber threats will be tackled by the provider’s ongoing security measures, helping the network run optimally.
Although undoubtedly an attractive option for businesses, MSP is no watertight model. Control over network design, integration with existing IT infrastructure, management of the network, and updates or patches to software are all associated difficulties.
Another option is private 5G networks, favoured for offering the benefits of 5G without the need for public 5G infrastructure. Again, 5G networks offer many benefits but also carry a slew of challenges. Spectrum availability, integration with existing services, limited coverage, regulatory compliance, and complexity must all be ironed out by enterprises when considering a private network.
The impact these shifts will have on enterprise AV use cases is manifold. Integrating wireless connections with displays is well-established, especially in the interactive panel sector. Vendors have offered such connection choices for years, and this will not change. Futuresource anticipates it to be a continued area for growth, along with cameras and collaboration tools.
Indeed, opportunities are ripe. Combining wireless connections with emerging AV tools will allow existing products to evolve and meet the shifting needs of customers. Physical connectivity has long confined AV devices to specific spaces and areas, but wireless connectivity breaks that link. AV devices no longer need to be tied to a dedicated space. This could pave the way for a new generation of AV devices with use cases that involve motion.
Futuresource expects InfoComm 2023 to shed more light on the evolving world of enterprise AV. Our post-show summary will break down all the developments as seen by our leading analysts – sign up now to receive your copy as soon as it lands.
For more information about our Connectivity in the Workplace report, please get in touch with Ben at email@example.com.
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