The state of Scottish AV
Shure UK's Craig Collin explains how the Scottish education market is leading AV investment and how Canary Wharf is not the only place in the UK seeing huge advances in conferencing technology…
I asked or Northern Regional Sales Manager Craig Collin if we could have a chat about the state of Scottish AV. His reply: "Aye... Nae borra pal. Let is ken wen an waur yet want tae dae it. Be braw, ken! Hoots min!"
Don't worry, I didn't understand what he meant either, but after speaking to Craig – no matter what he meant - it is obvious that the AV market in Scotland is extremely healthy. Of course, there is speculation about the long-term future of Scotland post Brexit, but that doesn't seem to be stopping anyone investing in projects and AV technology in the short- to medium-term.
"It is very much business as usual. We have seen a decline in investment from the Oil and Gas industries, but we assume they are afraid to be seen spending money while people are losing their jobs," he explains. "The really big growth area is in education. A lot of the big universities are upgrading old systems to offer their students state-of-the-art facilities that foster the learning experience. Many of these schools have realized that their lecture theatres need to be brought up to speed and audio quality is becoming more important. They are realizing that the days of a professor standing behind a droopy lectern mic in a lecture theatre with a lot of echoes is not an ideal learning environment."
He continued: "With technology like AV conferencing, web streaming and remote learning evolving and becoming more important to the educational experience, there is a realization that the audio element of any lecture is just as important as video."
As we are a similar age, Craig and I reminisced about the hours of lectures we sat through listening to a professor with one static mic, in a room where loudspeaker layout and acoustics had clearly not been considered. "These days the teachers use a variety of multimedia to support their lectures and it is increasingly important that the audio element of the lesson is more engaging and intelligible. The story is similar to several markets, where the emphasis has been on big screens, projectors and video walls, which is cool, but the students still need to hear what you are saying to fully grasp the concepts."
Don't mess with RBS
Craig was also quick to mention that Canary Wharf is not the only place in the UK seeing investment in AV conferencing technology: "Don't forget, we have the HQ of RBS and a major banking presence from the likes of HSBC, Tesco Bank, and others. The legal and property markets are also at the leading-edge of conferencing technology, which creates huge investments in high-quality microphones and sophisticated audio networking equipment. This is in addition to the Scottish Government, who are carrying on as they were, in addition to local and national councils continuing to make major investments in AV.
We also discussed that a topic for another article would cover the other area Craig is responsible for, Ireland. The title, we joked, would simply be 'Dublin is Booming'.
"We are seeing an incredible amount of investment in the North. It's not just Donald Trump who is spending money up here," Craig laughed. As an expat American living in the UK, I am still far too nervous to joke about Trump, so at that point, I muted Craig's audio on our VC and ended the call with an inaudible "goodbye".