Pro AV’s New Heroes: Software Programmers
Imagine if you bought a computer that could do word processing and email, but then had to buy a new computer when your boss asked you to create a spreadsheet. Madness! But that’s the hardware-defined world of AV today. In the IT world, hardware is built to be generic, widely capable but not specific to a single task. This is the way to understand components in the SDVoE ecosystem. A single endpoint box might be capable of several tasks: encoding, decoding, scaling, compositing, image cropping, audio downmixing, etc. Control software links multiple endpoints together, and determines which of these features is active at a specific time, in order to create the right application for the user.
SDVoE stands for software-defined video over Ethernet. More and more the world is all about software, and with good reason. Software is much more adaptable than hardware. In the traditional hardware-defined world of AV, a system’s function is fully defined when it is assembled. If you build a video wall controller, you have a video wall controller, now and forever. But business needs change, and system demands change. How many times has a perfectly capable AV system been torn out and replaced, at great expense, because the user’s needs changed? Or perhaps worse, how many times has a perfectly capable AV system been left to languish, because a user’s needs changed, but they didn’t have budget for a full system replacement?
Well with SDVoE, the AV programmer becomes the hero who can swoop in and save the day. By merely reprogramming the SDVoE system, new functionality can be realized, and new experiences created –without need to rely on new hardware system design (and the budget to go with it).
The pro AV industry is shifting away from its focus on merely installing AV equipment, and recognizing that our core value is in creating user experiences. In all aspects of life today, user experience is driven by software. SDVoE puts software at the core of what we do, and this makes the programmer one of the most valuable members of the AV team.
SDVoE makes it easy to create powerful user experiences, because SDVoE is built on top of a unified application-programming interface (API) that is common to all devices in the ecosystem. Hundreds of SDVoE devices are produced by dozens of SDVoE member companies, and all of them respond to the same set of commands, defined by that API.
Learn more about the SDVoE API in SDVoE Academy.
In traditional computer programming, you write an application for Windows, or for the web browser, and that program runs on a wide range of different hardware from multiple vendors. SDVoE and the unified API creates that same environment for AV. The programmer no longer needs to specialize in different control languages or protocols for different vendors. Instead, applications can be easily and quickly created to support all of the hardware in the SDVoE ecosystem.
And those applications can be wide-ranging. In the past you might program a switch from vendor X connected to an image processor from vendor Y with help from USB extension from vendor Z. SDVoE manages all these functions – AV switching, image scaling, video wall processing, mutiview compositing, and USB routing in a unified and consistent framework. The job of programming an SDVoE system is simple and repeatable.
By creating a platform on which software can define the application, SDVoE gives businesses the flexibility to adapt their AV system to evolving business needs. Just as you’d simply install new software to give your PC new capabilities, in the same way SDVoE systems can be updated and adjusted by installing new control software. SDVoE enables programmers and software developers to finally become the drivers of this change, as they have already become in so many other industries and technology arenas.