AV-over-IP is now a “must have” upgrade

AV-over-IP workflows safeguard the continuation of education through effective transition between remote, hybrid and in-person classes, as an industry executive explains.
By: | November 10, 2020
Getty Images, Stanislaw PytelGetty Images, Stanislaw Pytel

It’s no secret that the value propositions of “traditionally on-campus” higher education institutions are currently under the microscope. With annual tuition costs averaging around $10,000 per year for public, in-state tuitions—and more than doubling that at private schools—students are understandably wondering if remote learning provides the same value as in-person instruction.

Brad Price, Audinate

Brad Price, Audinate

This is, of course, a great danger not just to the coffers of universities around the globe—but to the commonwealth of our society. The reduction of education—either in the amount of instruction being given or the quality of that instruction—means a less thoughtful, inspired, research-driven and critically minded population.

Thus, it is of critical importance we solve the issue.

Luckily, just as those in the education space strive to do, we on the technology side have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants in finding a solution. The work of those who have come before can, in fact, truly improve our education workflows in a way that solves short term struggles, prepares for hybrid “return-to-school” scenarios, and improves the overall educational experience long term. The solution lies within the abundantly common, standardized and mature technology of common networking.

More specifically, the answer lies in converting our learning spaces’ AV to AV-over-IP.

Why do AV-over-IP now?

Many will ask why this is being considered in the here-and-now. AV-over-IP is on many universities’ upgrade roadmaps. However, it is almost always earmarked as an upgrade that benefits on-campus learning.

The truth, however, is that AV-over-IP has shown itself to be a powerful value enhancer in remote learning over the past year. Further, it is proving to be a solution in many institutions’ return-to-school plans. And, of course, it provides a rock-solid long-term upgrade—not just in terms of on-site AV, but also in terms of long-term fault tolerance planning.

Yes, the solutions we design now must prepare for troubleshooting new global challenges—such as a pandemic. It is not just about trying to recreate the learning experiences we’ve lost, but ensuring new, robust solutions exist if schools ever shut down again.

So, how to do this? Let’s share some concrete examples of what, specifically, a switch to AV-over-IP enables.

AV-over-IP protecting the brand of education

  • Short term audio/visual improvements for remote learning. AV-over-IP makes it easy for a school to deliver extremely high-quality audio and visual content over a wide area and to hundreds of endpoints. Further, there are many audio-over-IP systems that integrate natively with the distance learning platforms most commonly in use. In the short-term, this helps students and schools coping with remote learning by ensuring quality audio is being delivered to every endpoint – including the many students learning by laptop.
  • Hybrid models for returning to campus. AV-over-IP lets schools deliver high-quality content, both in-room and at a distance on campus, while simultaneously integrating easily with streaming technology to reach students off-campus. AV-over-IP also eases the use of lecture capture, giving more students access to key materials. This ability to pass content off seamlessly in a hybrid environment will be key as schools stagger a return to campus. Multiple rooms can be served the same audio and video of a lecture—and also allow for participation in real-time—through the technology. All of this while maintaining social distance requirements by splitting students up across multiple spaces.
  • Long term upgrades. IP is a smart investment no matter what comes your way. A high-quality network lays the groundwork for flexible, extensible AV-over-IP today and provides a solid foundation upon which future technologies can be deployed. AV-over-IP doesn’t require that a complete system be installed all at once, as the very nature of networking allows for incremental improvements at very low cost as products are added and changed.
  • Confidence against future changes. All signs point to a future that uses more networking, not less. A robust wired network provides the groundwork from which other, newer technologies can be delivered, even if those endpoints are wireless. And, if the need ever arises to use remote learning again, the system is prepared.

The AV-over-IP upgrade is now a must-have

These capabilities provided by AV-over-IP are no longer “nice to haves.” They are mission-critical upgrades to core capabilities that protect a school’s brand, ensure its value proposition continues unimpeded, and backstops against future challenges.

As mentioned before, this is not just a financial consideration for universities. It is about delivering the same robust level of information as a school always has. It is about continuing the free-flow of ideas, collaboration, and questions that are critical to a learning environment. It is about ensuring everyone can hear and be heard, see and be seen, and remain connected.

This is an upgrade that not only makes our lives easier—but improves the state of our ability to share and spread intelligence across the globe.

Brad Price is senior product marketing manager at Audinate. He is an engineer turned marketing expert, with a BSEE from MIT and extensive experience in the pro audio industry. At Audinate he works to increase awareness of the company’s powerful AV-over-IP solutions, which enable more effective and efficient communication for all types of organizations, including higher education.