It only took the industry a few years to figure out how to utilize the iPad in a meaningful way to improve the user experience of audio-visual technology.
This isn’t a knock on AV, its just a fact. Most of the early iterations of iPad control and integration left something to be desired. The good news is we have moved past that.
Today, Android and iOS are part of our life. In fact, you may be reading this on your mobile device right now. For business owners you have probably heard about “Mobilegeddon” or the fact that companies who have websites that aren’t mobile friendly will be penalized with lower search ranking.
Another thing you have probably heard about lately is the launch of the Apple Watch.
As a tech geek, I dig the idea of one more way to stay connected. And while smart watches are nothing new, the marriage of Apple and just about anything means that I am going to buy it. If I could figure out why they didn’t make it the iWatch I would be a bit happier, however, I digress.
What hasn’t been addressed, at least not yet in the commercial integration space, is whether or not the Apple Watch or wearables in general are going to have any meaningful impact on what we do. The answer is it won’t, but it will. Confused yet? Good, then I’m doing my journalistic job of leading the reader.
Mobile Is The Future Of Everything
While we were solving the problem of getting iPads to control projectors and switchers, there was another shift brewing. We were evolving into a world where people are always on, always connected and almost always expecting technology to support this.
If you think about the technology you buy today, does any of it really require us to know how to use it? If you are anything like me, you haven’t read a manual in the better part of a decade and you are certainly don’t read one when you get a new mobile device. Apps, browsers and tools on our devices are so user friendly that we just launch and use. This is going to hugely affect the integration industry as well.
Remember all of the time we spent training and educating the user on how to utilize the technology that we installed? Often it included large binders and multi-hour trainings on how to fire up a projector and switch the input. The more parts and pieces in the system, the more time we spent training, re-training and then supporting the installation. This became common place and it was accepted as the way things are.
Then we got smart devices. We can now video on our iPhone and control our houses with an app on our iPad. We have Nest, FitBit, Sleep Monitoring and Nutritionists in our pocket and on our wrists at any given time. No training required; s#it just works.
The Apple Watch may not immediately control the rooms we install or change commercial integration drastically, but devices of its kind are a representation of a new world where life and business are experienced differently. We no longer are tethered to our desks or bound to a conference room to have a meeting. We can connect in the cloud, watch content on our mobile device and be notified of what is important on our wrist.
These new ways of living are a direct window into the future and they speak to how we will engage with technology in the future. The offerings and solutions that integrators deliver need to encompass this. It isn’t a smart room thing anymore, but a smart world thing and most certainly something to consider in every strategic move we make with our businesses in the future.
Daniel L. Newman currently serves as CEO of EOS, a new company focused on offering cloud-based management solutions for IT and A/V integrators. He has spent his entire career in various integration industry roles. Most recently, Newman was CEO of United Visual where he led all day to day operations for the 60-plus-year-old integrator.
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