Video consumption has reached extraordinary levels. Last year, U.S. adults spent an average of 5.5 hours watching video each day, according to eMarketer. Every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube.
Yet, beyond the consumer end of the spectrum, audio and video (AV) technology is being recognized as the wave of the future in the corporate world with more people working remotely, and the greater need to connect globally. As industry partner Joel Jacobs, VP and CIO of MITRE Corporation describes it, AV will play an integral role in business as a whole to the extent that video will become as ubiquitous as email.
To help our students gain a competitive edge in this growing industry, we created an Introduction to Networked AV Technology course, which will be offered as an elective to Computer Technology students beginning in our Spring 2017 semester. This course will provide students with an overview of A/V technologies and the basics of networking.
A/V technology is being used in a variety of ways in a variety of industries. In MITRE’s case, they use multiple video feeds to safely share information between multiple users around the world. Telehealth uses video to connect physicians with patients. In-house studios are propping up in companies, some even equipped with green screens to help bring videos to life. Companies are increasingly using video to produce in-house content for marketing purposes. Hospitals and companies also use A/V via networked plasma screens in lobbies, and in waiting rooms to communicate to employees and customers.
"This course will equip our students for technical support positions in any employer that needs video conferencing. Students will learn how to set up, operate and trouble-shoot AV studios, systems and equipment." — Prof. Larson Rogers
The traditional AV systems are going by the wayside, so through this course, we will teach modern video systems, a mix between hardware and software. This course will equip our students for technical support positions in any employer that needs video conferencing. Students will learn how to set up, operate and trouble-shoot AV studios, systems and equipment. They will learn not just the Ethernet cabling, but some of the traditional AV cabling. We already teach cabling as part of our networking tracks and that will just be enlarged.
To develop this new course, we partnered with InfoComm International, a trade association representing the professional audiovisual and information communications industries worldwide. InfoComm has given us full access to all of their curricula and instruction materials, which we are modifying according to our students’ needs. They have a pulse of the industry as a whole and are leading the shift in the industry to converge A/V and IT.
This convergence is similar to what we have seen with Health IT as things go digital. Departments that used to be separate are now converging. There’s a whole new need for technicians that cross those boundaries fluidly and they never even knew there were boundaries. As video has become digitized and the equipment is managed by IT infrastructure, you see the people who used to do the cabling, and projectors and screens, now having to learn how to do it digitally. So it’s working closely with IT if not becoming IT.
It’s another area that we can distinguish ourselves. We will be the first college in New England to have this sort of partnership with InfoComm, and it will be the first dedicated program within a college to focus on technician training in this industry. Of course, students enrolled in this course will also make connections in the industry as they will have full access to this trade organization and will be able to forge a relationship with instructors.
Our students are major consumers of audio and video, as they are visual learners. If they are not comfortable in front of the camera, they may feel totally suited to be behind the scenes as a technician. We are excited to offer this new course and look forward to keeping you abreast of new developments in this area.