Smart Building

What Many of Today’s Technology Innovations Have in Common

Daniel Charles

Like a lot of the industry, Belden spent time at InfoComm and Cisco Live a few weeks ago, sharing upcoming innovations with technology professionals and exploring new industry advancements.

Over the past few years, events like these have revealed trends that are dominating the worlds of AV professionals, integrators and IT professionals:

  • Artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation
  • Big data and analytics
  • Cloud solutions
  • Virtual/augmented reality
  • WiFi 6 and 5G

At InfoComm and Cisco Live, much of the new technology on display took advantage of these trends in ways that will improve business and productivity. Even though we saw a lot of different types of solutions, they all seemed to have one thing in common (you’ll have to read to the end to find out what it is!).


Here’s a glimpse of what we saw …


Real-Life Virtual Help from Anywhere

New technology provides face-to-face conversations from remote locations (think information stations in airports, malls, university buildings, convention centers or hotels). To use it, you scan a QR code and automatically connect to remote support – either via a kiosk or through your mobile device. You can ask for directions, request help with room setup or equipment operation, or ask a question.


Collaboration on the Go

Taking advantage of the BYOD movement, we saw technology that allows any room or space to be used as a virtual collaboration area – whether you’re in the office, a hotel room or a lobby. It lets your laptop, smartphone or tablet send or receive presentations so you can huddle even when there’s no wall-mounted display nearby. The system’s network interface connects to an enterprise network while users connect to WiFi.


Adaptive Audio & Video

There were examples of mix-and-match, networkable videoconferencing and collaboration technology solutions that connect with a single Ethernet connection, from microphones and speakers to control solutions compatible with major videoconferencing platforms. Each unit within the system is powered by the network and can analyze room acoustics to automatically tweak settings.


Network-Controlled LED Lighting

Power over Ethernet (PoE) LED lighting offers better control, efficiency and cost savings. With PoE, fixtures don’t require a power connection. Instead, a single category cable supplies power and data. Each fixture utilizes a standard RJ45 connector and has its own IP address. Because the fixture is connected to the network, the data collected via integrated sensors about occupancy, temperature and daylight helps automate lighting levels.


Easy Content Sharing

Projectors that connect wirelessly and allow presenters to control them – and what’s being displayed – through their laptop, tablet or smartphone up with WiFi are changing the way these devices are used. The projectors also support one-click connection and allow an easy change in presenters if more than one person wants to share information.


Simple Video Walls

Smart displays can now connect directly to the cloud through an Ethernet cable for remote management and direct access to content, allowing for media of unlimited sizes and resolution. This can create simple digital video wall displays by adding as many displays as needed.


Analytics for Improved Content

AI-based video analytics technology is being integrated into hardware to help anyone create quality video. It can automatically extract a video object and combine it with other images in real time through motion/face detection and color/shape recognition. It can also track a presenter as he/she moves, as well as automatically focus on someone in an audience asking a question.


Supporting State-of-the-Art Technology

What do these different technology innovations have in common? In order to work as promised, they all rely on a solid cabling and connectivity infrastructure. Videoconferencing, collaboration tools, camera technology and smart displays are all connecting to networks. Without that connectivity, they can’t do what they promise in terms of control, performance or functionality.


If your cable and connectivity infrastructure can’t meet the demands of the devices and users that connect to it, the result will be downtime, lost productivity and perhaps even lost revenue or business. This applies even in wireless networks. Why? Because creating a wireless network still involves wires (Ethernet cables, more specifically).


A wireless network requires wireless access points (WAPs) to support wireless connectivity for users and devices. These access points must connect somewhere so they can access the enterprise network. That “somewhere” is a network switch connected to the wired network via a cable. Just like a wired network, a wireless network can only be as good as the cabling and connectivity infrastructure that supports it. (This holds true for whatever version of WiFi you’re using, including WiFi 6.)


Were you at InfoComm or Cisco Live this year? Tell us in the comments section what you saw while you were there!


Recent Belden Recognition

P.S. We have some exciting news to share!


At InfoComm this year, we were also excited to win a Commercial Integrator BEST Award for our ReelTuff™ cable packaging and Digital Electricity™ Cables. The winners were chosen by a panel of industry experts, integrators and Commercial Integrator editors for being the best products available to integrators in 2019.


ReelTuff packaging is designed with installers in mind – with a goal of making cable installation faster and easier. A double-wall corrugated design, the industry’s only water-resistant coating, tear-resistant and easy-to-access handles make packaging lighter. Holes in the top, bottom and front allow for easy pulling through stacked boxes. (Plus many other features!)


Our Digital Electricity Cable is designed to safely carry Digital Electricity™ up to 2,000W for up to 2,000 m, making it possible to distribute high-voltage power over a data cable across long distances.