Technology has been advancing at break-neck speed across all facets of industry and life. The Audio-Visual Industry is no exception, and with it comes opportunity and adversity. Just 20 years ago, we were doing conferences with slide projectors; awards shows with large “square” screens (only movie theaters had wide screens); and sales meetings with big, bulky projectors. The technology then started to change and advance at a rapid pace. TVs became flat. Screens got wide. Equipment shrank in size, but increased in quality and capability.

Mike Dorfner, President of MediaQuest, predicted many years ago that “…our event production table would be a stack of computers.” Well, that time is here. These computers, with specialized software, robust components, and the latest graphics cards, take up half the space and typically outperform their analog counterparts. Audio consoles, video switchers and lighting boards are essentially computers now, and can be controlled remotely with a smart phone or tablet. Additionally, image quality has gone from high-definition, to ultra-high-definition (4K) in just a few years. Soon, it will be 6K and 8K.

“The rapid spike in technology also brings adversity. The days of plugging in and connecting and powering up are all but gone.”

With this extensive computerization of the audio-visual industry come new opportunities and capabilities. Secured live streaming, intelligent lighting and super-wide screens with projector blending are now widely available and affordable. According to Dorfner, “The result is our clients can raise their production value exponentially, with little or no increase to the budget they had 10 years ago.”

The rapid spike in technology also brings adversity. The days of plugging in, connecting and powering up are all but gone. The wide array of digital signals and the sophistication of computerized components require some programming and a new approach to troubleshooting. The more advanced the capabilities and systems, the higher the potential for problems. Compatibility and interconnectivity of components and digital signals have become much more complicated. It’s much like the diagnostics system on a new car, and technicians need to adapt their skills.

People who work in the audio-visual industry find this invigorating, frustrating or both, but one thing is certain: the skills necessary to be successful are changing. Dorfner understands this, “You still need to think quickly on your feet, and be able to work in high-stress environments, but now you also will benefit from a strong IT background.”

“People who work in the audio-visual industry find this invigorating, frustrating or both, but one things is certain: the skills necessary to be successful are changing.”

Technology will continue to advance, and will bring new opportunities and perhaps some adversity. MediaQuest will strive to stay ahead of the curve, and to hire and train technicians to best serve its customers.