Monday, April 16, 2012

M is for Mobile

M is for Mobile. Also for Midpoint.

We're midway through the alphabet, at the letter 'M'. Earlier, (K for Knowledge base) I talked about how things which were core competencies in the AV field just a few years ago (analog video encoding) have become little more than a footnote. So what'll things look like tomorrow? We're already seeing the next changes, and it's one people are bringing from home: I suspect that, as time goes on, there will be a push to move more commercial video to mobile devices - mostly iPads and other tablets as these tools become more common. Streaming video to a server could be a simple way to distribute it to people working on mobile devices. Personally, I don't have a tablet issued by my employer, but on the job I use my personal tablet for

  1. Taking site notes
  2. As a digital video test source
  3. Adding site photos for a quick update/tech scope

In addition, I've seen more and more jobs in which an iPad is used instead of a Crestron or AMX wifi panel for system control. Given the cost differential between the iPad and a dedicated touchpanel, this makes perfect sense. AMX, Crestron, and Extron all have iOS apps to emulate their touchpanels. I've seen the Crestron app in use, and it's a pretty faithful emulation of the panel, minus hard-buttons but with the ability to log out of the app and use the iPad for other things when the AV system isn't in use. It won't work as a wired panel when docked the way a TPMC-8X or something would, but if paired with a docking station, it's a nice, and lower price, alternative to a dedicated wifi panel. 

The most curious choice is from Extron; they have an iOS app, but it will only emulate an existing touchpanel. In other words, if you want to use your iPad to interface with your IPLink control system, you need to buy a Touchlink panel in addition. It might create incentive for people to buy more of their touchpanels, but  I find this a curious choice which might create another barrier to clients moving away from Crestron or AMX and to Extron for control. 

I know we're a day behind; I'll perhaps see you tomorrow for 'N', and then see what we can do about catching up.

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