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Unifying AV with Your IT Network

They call it a “unified network” and you’re starting to find it more and more in new commercial construction.

It lets all of the electronic communications within a building utilize the same data network. Security systems, IT, telecommunications, building management, lighting, automation control and audiovideo can all run through the same cabling, routing and switching. Having this many devices and systems on one network requires the need for different network monitoring application options to be constantly monitoring the performance, security, and downfalls of your business network.

That means a building’s infrastructure requires less proprietary cables, pathways and equipment – leading to lower costs, simpler operation and easier upgrades and maintenance.

The concept of unified networks is nothing new. It has been around for a while and has traditionally had the ability to carry video, but a relative new comer to the list of things that can be “unified” is audiovisual (AV). With it comes the ability to centrally manage and distribute content to AV-related equipment, from microphones and speakers to video displays, signage and projectors.

In the past, audiovisual was treated as a separate space from the client’s network. Traditionally, it was truly analog until the digital transition occurred and became accepted on a national level.

For facilities that are moderate to heavy users of audiovisual, having everything run on a converged network can be a big deal. All it takes is having the right components and lots of insight.

This is why the audiovisual industry’s international trade association, InfoComm, highlighted such an implementation in one of its very first Exceptional Experiences” case studies.

The subject of this particular case study – the newly-built San Bernardino County, California, Superior Court. The 11-story, 35-courtroom building is the very first California court building with unified AV and IT, along with being an ExhibitOne client.

The case study details the demanding technical requirements of the new courthouse and the extensive planning that took place to ensure everyone’s needs – in-house staff and security, judges, bailiffs and court clerks, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, counsel and jury, as well as citizens who use the courthouse for something as simple as paying a parking ticket – we’re being addressed by the technology and the manner in which it was implemented.

An architect and project manager notes: “We look to our architectural and engineering team to suggest innovation that addresses current and future needs identified by the court for buildings that will last 50-plus years. You really have to take a look at the technical savvy of the courts themselves. As you make decisions about technology, you want to make sure that the user is able to make use of the technology and has the capability to manage it.”

The former Supervising AV/Video Systems Technical Analyst for the California Courts, commented, “For the foreseeable future we have to support both analog and digital. If counsel brings in a cassette player, a VCR player or any other analog device to play evidence, we have to be able to support those devices. The equipment, the signal and the cable need to be able to automatically understand what type of signal is being pushed and respond.”

Meeting the needs of users, ease of use, future-proofing, handling older technology – it was mission accomplished on all counts by ExhibitOne. Which is why, the San Bernardino County, California, Superior Court is truly an exceptional experience worth reading about.


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