On the Circuit
Sep 8, 2014 7:33 PM, By Cynthia Wisehart
Years ago at Sony Picture Imageworks, I remember seeing the jaw-dropping cable runs overhead in every room and hallway— great fire hoses of data tethered in giant bundles to industrial-grade tracks. You could just imagine the megabytes of creativity coursing through the building. The rack room was a vast rumbling boiler of steel and electronics, with a staff engineer whose sole job was heat management. It was literally awesome.
Our cover story this month speaks to how much the aesthetic of creativity has changed. At the New York offices of the global advertising agency Havas, power is more ethereal—it’s in the air, not in the pipes. It reflects the kind of wireless, digital ease that people expect, with media at their fingertips pulled from the atmosphere to make a point.
As I worked on the story, it occurred to me that this AV/IT convergence is starting to be driven by culture and a fluency with media that comes ever more naturally to people. Even Minority Report—which we’ve all conjured at one time or another—isn’t quite right. It’s not about powerful gestures and showing off (well, sometimes it is). It’s about ease and collaboration. It’s about the native-ness of media and the way it now takes many forms, just like conversation.
We all know ease is deceptive. But I came away from talking to the Havas project participants understanding something that I didn’t before: Things aren’t just changing for us, they’re changing for IT, because the way people communicate and work is materially changing and it’s not changing back. The compulsion to lock down, limit, and ration a network—the ethos of scarcity and silos—has to go because work can’t thrive anymore with those limitations.
It used to be necessary and responsible to miser the network and fortify the gates. Today, businesses that have more organic, fluid, and media-rich networks will outcompete those that don’t. I don’t mean big or even complicated; I mean organic to the way organizations work. That might be big; it might not. It will have to be appropriately secure. But the network can’t be about “no” anymore. Network professionals and manufacturers—whether their expertise references AV or IT or increasingly both—will be the heroes of the next generation of work if they figure out how to say “yes” to rich media and collaboration. I do remember when email was a miracle. It won’t be easy, or instant, but let’s really chase the next round of infrastructure miracles, which this time will be sound and picture.
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