2021 Recap: What We Learned and What’s Ahead – Editorial by Dave Van Hoy, ASG President

As we head into an uncertain 2022, I want to reflect on the positive aspects of the past year (yes, there were some) for our company and some of the more uplifting aspects that emerged within the media and entertainment technology industry as a whole. 

In an overall economic sense, we saw the industry recover well last year from the initial shock and doldrums of 2020. Within our company, all our business units have expanded beyond pre-pandemic levels, some of it driven by projects that were delayed or changed from the previous year. The pleasant surprise from 2021 was the continued growth of our managed services business. We believe that will be an even bigger driver of growth this year. 

The effect of the ongoing pandemic can be felt across all areas of media and entertainment technology. Remote work and virtual operations have come at an accelerated clip, impacting everything we do. We’ve been heavily involved in developing the cloud infrastructure for live production. It’s becoming the platform within which all of our manufacturer’s products need to co-exist. We have a team of cloud, audio and video technology experts that created our cloud-based Virtual Production Control Room for real-time production of live events to meet this increasing need. 

Today’s systems integration is about usability, resource management, collaboration, cloud computing for real time video, audio and storage. SI’s must maintain solid relationships with vendors as well as with Hyperscalers in order to satisfy customer needs. This represents a significant shift. It’s a big disruption to business as usual, but one that just requires additional knowledge and experience to navigate. 

One example of the difference when working “in the cloud” is that there are no industry defined standards for systems integration, there may never be. The lack of a standard like SDI creates challenges and opportunities. Hyperscalers are the new masters of communication protocol. And yet how the virtual machines interact is very different in Azure versus Google versus AWS. When you’re running an Oracle database, that’s not as much of a concern. Everything just works. But, if you’re looking to move 60fps 4K video in real time, precision timing absolutely matters. 

As systems integrators working in the cloud, we’re not inventing the technology. We’re inventing how to make it all work together. We evolve as the world around us does, but our job remains the same: to evaluate technologies and work with clients to identify their needs and find the right solution. That could be in the cloud, on premise, or will often be a hybrid of the two. As always, our work is dynamic. We love learning new technologies and using them to help our clients solve their challenges. Bring it on 2022!