If you’ve been shopping around for audio visual systems in New York, you may have heard the words “future proofing” quite a bit. It’s one of those buzzwords we use in this industry a lot, but let’s stop for a minute and think about what it really means.
Simply, “future proofing” means giving you the best systems you can afford today so you can put off the need to upgrade for as long as possible. It means a lot of other different things, too. It could mean:
- Your systems should be compatible, with minimal modifications, with new technology as it comes on the market
- The audio video systems in your venue are so cutting-edge, it will be a while before your competitors surpass you (if they do!)
- Your systems can easily and inexpensively expand as your business grows with the addition of some key components
Two Flavors of Future-Proofing
In general, future-proofing comes in two flavors: Technology compatibility and business growth. For instance, installing a digital mixing console in your arena today makes sure you’re set for the future, when analog all but disappears. Installing Ethernet, rather than Cat-5, is also an example of future-proofing your technology.
On the other hand, purchasing a control system with multiple zones that can be easily expanded represents preparing for future business growth. When you take that Ethernet and run it across your entire new corporate headquarters, because you may want tie-lines for videoconferencing in every room in the future and you don’t want to tear down sheeetrock to do it later, you’re preparing for your needs to grow as your business expands.
The good news is that future-proofing in one regard (for instance, getting a robust control system) usually will future-proof your AV systems in every way.
Getting Specific About Future-Proofing
When you first start talking to audio video integrators, it’s a good idea to determine what “future-proofing” means to you. Do you foresee taking over the building next door, so you may want a 6-zone audio system to be able to handle 12 zones in the future? Do you always want to have the best systems in town? Do you want to start streaming to the Web? Do you want to make sure you’re 1080i-compatible so that when the highest level of HD is commonly available in homes, you can provide it in your venue, too? If you’re upgrading the audio video systems in corporate headquarters, do you predict expanding your digital signage network in the future, which could mean adding the cabling infrastructure now?
All of these steps, and more, could “future-proof” your audio video installation to save you money when it comes time for upgrades.
Doesn’t Future Proofing Cost More?
Here’s the really good news. Most of the “future-proof” solutions we recommend as audio visual integrators don’t cost any more than doing it “the old way.” This is especially true in the case of running wiring anywhere you might imagine you’d need it, before the sheetrock is up and the walls are painted. (That’s why it makes sense to call us at the same time you call your architect and general contractor!)
Imagine if I told you that you could spend a few dollars today to avoid spending double or triple that amount tomorrow? And they were dollars you were going to spend anyway. No-brainer, right?
We hope this clears up the concept of future-proofing for you, but if you have any questions, our team is always here to help. Follow us on Twitter or friend us on Facebook and let us know you’re reading!