Commercial Integrator + Security Sales April 2024 - 8

AV BRAINS & BRAWN
Coming of Age and Coming Together
The barriers that separate AV, IT and security are coming down, creating the opportunity
for integrators to embrace a " smart systems " approach. By Alan C. Brawn
I MAY BE A COUPLE months late to
the party, but I wanted to share my
two cents about what I call " coming of age
and coming together " in commercial AV
and security, which were heretofore
(mostly) distinct industries. Of course, I
will include a bit of history....
Back before the turn of the century,
commercial AV was a standalone industry
and participants were happy and secure
(pun intended!) simply to be there. IT was
in its toddler phase, and many experts
thought " never the twain shall meet. " It
didn't take long - although, in this writer's
opinion, longer than it should have taken
- for AV and IT to converge. (And, before
you say it, yes, there are still laggards who
do not get that they have converged.)
The point is that the only constant is
change. Technologies move forward,
embrace one another and, eventually,
converge. So it is with commercial AV, IT
and security.
Distinct and Standalone
In the distance, I can hear the voices saying
that these are all distinct and standalone.
They might in fact be happy with that
distinction. To a certain extent, people who
say that are right. Each of these technologies
and integration practices have unique
aspects to them, but they are converging
into what some call " smart buildings. " I
prefer breaking it down even further and
addressing them as " smart systems. "
Allow me to recount my own AV experience
going back to the 1980s. When asked
what we did for a living, I would say that
we do AV systems design and integration.
When a questioning look appeared on
the asker's face, I would add that we take
disparate technologies and design them
into a system that works seamlessly as
one. That definition worked - sort of.
Keep in mind that this is what we said
back in the 1980s, and this is still what we
do today. What has changed is the number
The common denominator is systems design. AV, IT and security all touch one
another. At one or more levels, they are symbiotic.
of " tools in the toolbox " that are at our
disposal. And, as every craftsperson will
tell you, using the proper tool for the job
is a necessity to get the job done and to
achieve the right outcome.
The toolbox was first expanded with AV
and IT as technologies that were symbiotic.
Merriam-Webster defines " symbiotic " as
follows: " characterized by or being close,
cooperative or interdependent. " This is
where security fits in with AV and IT. As an
overall concept (hardware and software),
it fits the definition in smart buildings and
smart systems. It is standalone, but it's also
" close, cooperative or interdependent. "
A Feeling of Security
With IoT and the expansion of connectivity
across devices, security in all its forms
takes on a new meaning. A feeling of security
is a sense of being safe and free from
worry. In our world of communication, it
encompasses physical and data accessibility
and protection. On the physical side,
security refers to all the measures taken to
protect a place or ensure that only people
with permission enter or leave it. On the
data side, it is similar, but you need to
substitute data and/or information instead.
Security may reside on totally separate
systems to ensure full security coverage, or
it may be part of an overall smart systems
approach that " touches " all other systems
8 Commercial Integrator+Security Sales & Integration | April 2024
in a smart building. Building security
exists at varying levels. It may involve both
external and internal applications. It may
be as simple as a camera monitoring a door;
conversely, it could be as complex as retinal
scanning. There is IT security, and this can
drill down to AV security. IT security has
its own levels - from a basic firewall that
protects internals from external threats to
more granular protection, allowing only
select people to access certain information.
The Common Denominator
The common denominator is systems
design. AV, IT and security all touch one
another. At one or more levels, they are
symbiotic. Some companies will specialize
in a given area, but, increasingly,
companies will " dip " into other symbiotic
areas. A security firm could do some AV
and IT; just as easily, an IT firm may do
some AV and security. What determines
who does what is open to discussion and
can be application specific. But we do
know that convergence and change are
upon us.
Bottom line: AV, IT and security are sure
to come together at an increasing rate. CI
ALAN C. BRAWN, CTS, DSCE,
DSDE, DSNE, DCME, DSSP,
ISF-C, is the principal of Brawn
Consulting.
SODAPEAW/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Commercial Integrator + Security Sales April 2024

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