AV isn’t just about delivering images to screens or automating sights and sounds anymore.

Today, AV is all about communications, collaboration, scheduling and resource management. And smart buildings serve as the landscape for these AV advancements.

As systems inside a smart building are integrated to work together, AV sits at the heart of it all. Fully integrating AV into smart buildings not only automates processes and systems, but also allows for the collection and sharing of data to allow for even more automation and responsive building systems.

This data provides actionable information that building systems can use to make decisions on their own – and that building operators and occupants can also use to make smarter decisions. The more data your building can collect, analyze and act on, the safer and more efficient your building – and the people inside it – becomes.

The AV inside a smart building adapts automatically as the needs of the people inside change, whether they’re employees, students, patients or guests. It makes life easier for everyone and is constantly changing.

But there’s an important component in bringing AV to life: network infrastructure (cabling and connectivity that can handle the demands of these systems).

After all, it’s really not the AV technology that makes a smart building “smart.” Instead, that intelligence comes from the cabling and connectivity that support 24/7 connectivity, bandwidth to support growing numbers of users and devices, and the ability for technology systems to communicate and interact. Without that infrastructure to reliably connect the devices to the network, they offer no special features or functionality.

Register for the Preparing for AV over IP and Futureproof Infrastructure Webinar

As AV systems are deployed in smart buildings, new demands are being placed on the network infrastructure. Here are a few examples:

  • More IoT devices are connecting to the network (from displays to soundmasking systems and speakers), which increases bandwidth requirements.
  • Power delivery through a data cable utilizing Power over Ethernet (PoE). This allows devices to be deployed at any location – even far away from electrical outlets.
  • More wireless connections as people and their devices choose to be untethered. This will increase the need for more wireless access points.
  • More audio and video signals will need to be transmitted and distributed.

A smart building needs to be able to evolve with the quick pace of technology – without requiring major changes to infrastructure. As you can imagine, it’s expensive and time-consuming to go back and replace this infrastructure once it’s installed.

In recent years, twisted-pair cabling has been the go-to for applications like audio and video distribution. But as quality and bandwidth requirements increase – and distances between sources and displays grow – fiber infrastructure is starting to show up in more commercial AV applications.

Making the right choices when it comes to cabling and connectivity can make or break AV applications. In most cases, there’s no clear-cut, one-size-fits-all answers to questions like:

  • Should I use fiber or copper cabling for my installation?
  • Which termination method should I use to connect devices to the network?
  • When should singlemode or multimode fiber be used in an AV system?
  • How far can I transmit AV signals through my cabling system?

The answers to these questions rely on several factors. If you’re not sure what you need, consult an expert. Belden is happy to walk you through your choices – and help you make sure the solutions you select will last, no matter what type of AV applications they’ll have to support in the future.

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