Get Ready for Your Close-up With AV

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-02-19

The audio/video field is creeping closer to the computer domain, and CTOs and IS directors soon may find themselves responsible for both. Trust me—it recently happened to yours truly. During the last few years, our AV department went along its merry way, installing TVs and cameras and maintaining videoconferencing links that traverse two counties over T-1 and ISDN lines. During the last year, however, AV started calling my IS department because the new components required computer or network support.

The first of these goodies they purchased, the new video fiber switcher/ router, required IS to install and configure a workstation to interface with the router. 0The next toys, new video-over-IP conference appliances, required advanced network setup on each unit, and they also required our network analyst to make significant changes to our firewall. Testing and implementation of the devices took almost a week of IS time, not only working with our AV staff, but also with the people on the other end of the video link, who had to make changes on their firewalls as well.

We also upgraded the AV feeds to a new courthouse in another county, replacing the traditional T-1 and ISDN lines with a high-speed OC-3 ATM circuit. That move required new ATM AV codecs on both sides.

Lastly, AVs new digital editing bay, used to take raw video footage and create training and production-quality videos, is actually a large workstation running advanced video software.

My administrator declared recently that the two areas are merging so closely that theres no perceptible lines of demarcation between AV and IS these days, and what little there is will completely dissipate in the coming years. Based on that assumption, he moved supervision of the AV department to my direct control.

So what can you do to get ready? Start reading AV magazines and familiarize yourself with AV infrastructure and terminology. Go to conventions. Above all, dont fret—after all, hard-core bit-heads should find the thousands of AV gizmos fascinating. So clear out some of the old Digital VAX brain space youve been meaning to purge and start learning AV. Trust me, it will be time well-spent.

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