Magazine article University Business

AV/IT Convergence Drives Installations: Q&a with ICIA's Randy Lemke

Magazine article University Business

AV/IT Convergence Drives Installations: Q&a with ICIA's Randy Lemke

Article excerpt

Randy Lemke, Ph.D, a former college professor and instructor of AV teachers, discusses the accelerating convergence of AV and IT in the education fields. The International Communications Industries Association (ICIA), headed by Executive Director Lemke, partnered with District Administration and University Business magazines in this year's launch of EduComm, the educational seminar component at the well-known InfoComm Show.

AV: To get started, could you explain the target audience of your association's "AVolution" initiative?

Lemke: It's an educational program to reach the purchasers of audiovisual products and services. The purchaser, of course, comes from a wide number of places in the educational field--it could be from media centers, AV departments, libraries, and so on--but more and more are now coming from the IT department because AV and IT are converging. So one of our big goals is to inform our new buyers about AV products and services.

You mentioned convergence, which is the hot-button topic in AV. Can you elaborate?

There's so much content being created and stored in databases you need someone to be able to see and understand [how to use] that content; that's where AV comes in. But it's all converging because everything in the chain is becoming digitized.

It starts to blur. How do you define AV vs. IT?

We define it as when more than one person is looking at a screen or listening to an audio [presentation], that's AV. If it's an individual looking at a monitor, that's more IT. So when there's a group that has to see, understand, and do something with information, that's where AV gets involved. AV can make sure it's displayed and heard in a useful format. It takes specialized equipment to do that. It's a complex job.

Give us an overview of the complexity of an AV installation.

Putting in an AV application in K-12 or higher education has a lot to do with acoustics, a lot to do with room size and design, a lot to do with things other than just the equipment. When we talk about an AV solution, we're talking about the entire environment, usability, and equipment. It's not just a series of connected boxes.

What drives the evolution of AV?

It's all about content location. The content now might be on a laptop, a video-tape, a disc, or on the Internet. An instructor can now call up the content without bringing in the media. So it's now more viable to have installed systems in classroom environments and the content tends to be more rich so they need more [and better] audio, more control, and more opportunity to teach and less time devoted to being technicians. …

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