Integration firms need to prepare for clients who will be looking for innovative ways to implement digital signage to communicate everything from CDC guidelines to capacity limits.
As integration companies battle through a COVID-19-depleted market, there is much uncertainty about what the future of the integration industry holds. One feeling, however, has been consistent throughout NSCA’s countless conversations with integration firm leaders: Even when the integration market enters its reboot and recovery phase, the “new normal,” as it’s often called, will be different. Integration firm leaders must prepare to lead a different type of company under different work circumstances and address their customers’ changing needs.
NSCA’s “Future of the Integration Business” series offers insight from NSCA members and industry professionals to shed light on what the future holds. Find the continually updated series here.
Just as quickly as COVID-19 sent everyone scrambling to set up remote offices and deploy videoconferencing tools, it also brought new technologies to the forefront—systems that weren’t top-of-mind for anyone in the industry a year ago:
- Body temperature screening
- Occupancy monitoring and control
- Contactless operation
- Remote education solutions
- Elevator operation via smartphone apps
As organizations of all kinds make choices about new technology to ensure safety, health, and well-being, there’s an important factor that plays into these decisions: cabling and connectivity.
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You can deploy all kinds of emerging technology solutions to help maintain social distancing and appropriate occupancy levels, promote voice/touchless operation vs. touch control, and support engaging remote experiences, but the end result will be disappointing if these systems are running on cabling infrastructure that isn’t designed to handle what this new technology requires in terms of bandwidth and speed. In other words: Deploying a brand new telehealth system in a large hospital that hasn’t upgraded its network infrastructure in several decades and operates on Category 5e cabling probably won’t end well.
Updated infrastructure is crucial to making sure technology stays connected 24/7 without downtime or interruption. Even in wireless environments, cables matter. Each wireless access point ultimately connects to a network switch via a cable. As more wireless access points are installed to support more wireless devices and improve coverage, more cabling will be needed to connect them all. If cabling is outdated, it causes spotty, unreliable performance. Wireless networks supporting these technologies are only as good as the cabling infrastructure used to create them.
Investments in singlemode fiber (OS2) and multimode fiber (OM4), as well as Category 6A and Power over Ethernet (PoE) solutions, will likely rise to give end-users what they need in terms of information capacity and bandwidth. As schools, hospitals, and businesses rely even more on connectivity moving forward, outdated cabling will become increasingly noticeable. And what good is the latest technology if it doesn’t work?
How do you expect network infrastructure to change for integration businesses and their clients? Email NSCA Director of Industry Outreach Tom LeBlanc at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts.