Take Away: In this time of massive technological change, successful "AV Integrators" must stay a step ahead of their clients. Businesses, schools and universities, houses of worship, organizations and local governments – integrators' primary clients and customers – are all either taking advantage of the newest technology to expand their offerings or they are thinking very seriously about doing so.
In addition to live video, which we've spoken about here and here, professional-looking video is an equally-important piece of the puzzle. Even institutions and companies cutting together modest video productions will need to look at adding or expanding their shared storage capabilities. And that's where you come in.
Video draws attention, promotes engagement and sends the message that any business, school, house of worship or institution is on top of its game. This fascinating white paper from Web Video Marketing Council, reports, "Video continues to benefit a wide variety of business functions. Its most common benefit is increasing user understanding, but increased dwell time, sales, and traffic, as well as reduced support queries are all thanks to video according to many marketers."
AV specialists are often expected to build mini versions of a post facility with relatively tiny budgets and a handful of employees, or even volunteers, creating video for websites and social media. Limitations notwithstanding, they are expected to make it possible to edit video (even UHD and 4K and possibly at high frame rates), add titles and even effects. This is daunting and exciting for many people involved. Perhaps the least sexy purchase involved – shared storage, with ample read/write speeds, durability, and the capacity to hold the large amount of data involved with high-resolution video – is actually the backbone of the whole system.
A relatively large operation that can justify the purchase of Avid Nexis, with its speed, bandwidth, scalability and durability for the highest-end pros. Smaller outfits have a large selection of SAN (Storage Area Network) or NAS (Network Attached Storage) approaches. This informative article from the Creative Planet Network by Oliver Peters goes into detail about the different types of storage and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Solid State drives, which offer faster speeds and more durability by virtue of having no spinning discs, were considerably more expensive a few years ago but they dropped steadily in price until a shortage of flash memory last year sent the cost going in the other direction. But many on the front lines are reporting that issue to be a temporary snag.
Many companies offer a wide variety of professional storage solutions designed for the rigors of video production. LaCie, a subsidiary of Seagate, offers rugged individual drives and advanced RAID solutions that fit every need and budget. G-Technology, a division of Hitachi, just introduced some professional Mobile SSD drives and a family of new Thunderbolt 3 RAIDS. G-Technology even offers the G-RACK NAS solution for shared storage needs.
For the AV integrator, it is important to not only be prepared to offer clients the storage solution for their needs today but to realistically anticipate what their needs will be tomorrow. If they're dipping their toe into the world of video production, are they likely to have the resources to significantly increase their output or not? Are they likely to be able to upgrade to higher-resolution video and to incorporate more complex effects in the future? Do they expect to post their videos with one or two people, or might there be seven or eight or more sharing media?
It's a very exciting time to be an AV integrator. Clients are doing much more under the heading of "AV" than ever before. The most successful people in that space are the ones who take the time to learn about the newest gear and to match it perfectly with each unique client's needs.