Wireless AV: More than just a cable replacement?

Today’s security standards ensure that all transmissions are encrypted with at least 256 bits and some manufacturers can even provide users with a solution where even when your PC is secure (USB port blocked), as offered by Vivitek’s LauncherOne.

Wireless technology has become increasingly prolific in AV systems. Several factors contribute to wireless technology now being commonplace in the implementation of AV projects. Here, AV News looks at the improvements in wireless technology that mean that it is now much more than a replacement for wired networks.

As the name suggests, the lack of wires (wireless) means there is not the requirement to manage an ever-growing stream of cables across a meeting space. The use of wireless AV means more devices can be added to an IT / AV infrastructure without additional cabling or clutter.

This means that when the technology is used in a meeting space, the environment can be kept tidy and the people focused. For screen sharing examples, users just want to walk into the meeting room with their device and seamlessly connect their presentation to a screen. Wireless technology is key to providing the flexible workspaces that the modern workforce demands and thrives in. Often, time is wasted with conventional because of issues resulting from complicated wiring and cables.

But do wireless solutions really offer more than a simple wireless replacement? David Zrihen, sales director for Vivitek, EMEA believes they do: “Thanks to all the features that those solutions now offer – like split screen functionality, concurrent multiple device connections and, annotation – they deliver so much more value than just being a cable replacement. To achieve the connection variety and flexibility you’ll find on the NovoPro for instance, you probably need to purchase 300 Euros of various adapters that will probably be lost within a week of use in a meeting room.”

BYOD

BYOD WirelessTechnology should not get in the way of a meeting and team collaboration, but instead, it should facilitate the sharing of ideas. Wireless collaboration improves productivity and saves time. Meeting spaces, that are designed with wireless collaboration in mind, should enable each participant to easily present and share any content, at any time, from any device. Making the meeting more accessible for all participants encourages interaction, enhances discussions and ultimately drives innovation.

The increased mobility offered by wireless AV both enables and facilitates the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture, which more and more businesses are adopting. This applies to both visitors and employees.

For the widespread adoption of any technology, it is important that it is an intuitive to use and seamless experience for the user as possible. Wireless screen sharing devices such as the I3SYNC fit the requirements for simplicity and ease of use. These are plug and play and enable meeting attended to start sharing a presentation seamlessly. I3SYNC also allow up to 256 transmitters to be connected to one receiver at any one time.

wireless
The I3SYNC transmitter: to see it in action see the video at: https://www.i3-technologies.com/en/products/hardware/wireless-presenting-devices/pro/

Some wireless screen sharing devices require connection via USB, but corporate security policies can often put a block on USB ports. This has increasingly become the case in the dawn of GDPR. For this reason, HDMI ports are often the route now used for connections.

Network access

External devices on a corporate network (Wi-Fi or wired) can sometimes be blocked or restricted. Devices such as i3SYNC offer a way to bypass the need to use the guest or corporate Wi-Fi by creating their own point-to-point wireless network. This negates any security concerns about devices being on the corporate network or using bandwidth which could be used for AV/IT requirements elsewhere in the business.

The inclusiveness and accessibility offered by wireless AV/technology means that participants can become more engaged in content, by collaborating live and sharing notes using wireless devices. This applies to both a corporate and education setting.

The prevalence of wireless AV can also improve the experience of visitors to a workplace. Visitor-based networks can provide high-speed wireless connectivity in public areas of buildings and meeting rooms. Visitors arriving at an office will often receive credentials to sign into the guest wi-fi network. This is operated separately from the building’s main ‘corporate’ IT infrastructure and requires little or no involvement from the IT team.

Capability

Wireless technology is evolving daily – becoming both more secure and more reliable. As wi-fi connectivity and networks have become stronger, they provide the option for meeting room booking panels such as Evoko Liso to enter the ‘wireless AV’ eco-system by connecting over Wi-Fi 802.11 using AES encryption. The functionality is still the same as in a conventional wired network – just minus the wires and cable management to contend with.

Wireless devices allow employees and visitors to roam seamlessly between Wi-Fi networks in building, hot-spots and public mobile networks. This enables companies to maximise cost efficiencies, improve productivity and minimise interruptions caused by network transference.

Adopting wireless technology can also positively impact the bottom line for a business. This is in part due to the increased flexibility, efficiency and cost savings associated with wireless AV.

One example of this is the access to real-time data. The use of wireless AV by its very nature also provides more touch points for data collection. The data collected from a company’s network of AV technology and sensors provides insights to help set goals, measure progress and optimize use of available assets.

One of the biggest concerns that can arise when debating wired v wireless networks are security and speed. In both instances wired is often superior, however, that doesn’t mean to say that wireless is either insecure, or slow.  Businesses can increase the function of operations with wireless technology while remaining secure.

Very often, as with most business situations, it is a case of choosing the right technology to meet your business requirements. An example of this is the speed over wireless – for most small to medium-sized businesses, the slower speed that a wireless network provides is still fast enough for their needs.

Current limitations

wireless

So, what are the realistic limitations on performance in terms of speed, capacity, reliability and quality? David Zrihen, sales director for Vivitek, EMEA believes that we are on the cusp of speed improvements: “While many of the key issues have been addressed, currently the greatest concern is centered on how to play video in a seamless way. Already though a few manufacturers have found a way to achieve 1080p streaming at 60fps.”

One of those pioneering the development high-speed wireless technology is HD wireless GMBH, although admittedly only for wireless broadcast camera solutions. Nonetheless, the product is geared to the quality standards and exacting requirements of this demanding broadcast environment and has been proved to work.

But with video standards and protocols in transition, will current standards and protocols adequate for new resolutions and media? Zrihen believes that change is underway: “It’s certainly a consideration for customers and when thinking about 4K streaming, the answer is probably not. However, we are getting there with new buildings already equipped with high speed networks. I think that the industry is fairly confident that when 5G becomes available, the performance of equipment will be enhanced and all current concerns about performance limitations will be overcome.”

 

So right now are there circumstances where wireless is not a viable options?

Zrihen again: “Today there are hardly any where security concerns preclude the use of a wireless solution. Today’s security standards ensure that all transmissions are encrypted with at least 256 bits and some manufacturers can even provide users with a solution where even when your PC is secure (USB port blocked), as offered by Vivitek’s LauncherOne. While the use of an exotic operating system may be a limitation in some situations, Windows, iOS and ChromeBook devices are now supported by many products.”

 

So, the concluding message seems to be that improvements are imminent, but in the meantime, users should be encouraged to be realistic about their requirements.

 

Credits and further information

1.      With help and assistance from John Gorman, Marketing Manager, Anders+Kern

www.anders-kern.co.uk

A+K are a specialist distributor of meeting room and workspace optimizing technology.

2.      I3-Technologies https://www.i3-technologies.com/

3.      Evoko https://www.evoko.se/

4.      Also thanks to David Zrihen, sales director for Vivitek, EMEA.
www.vivitek.eu
https://novoconnect.eu

 

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