As Sound & Communications Magazine was getting its start 60 years ago, RTKL Associates was a blossoming architectural firm with one office in Baltimore MD. Audiovisual design was nowhere on the radar. Over the coming decades, the firm expanded into new locales and new disciplines. By the late ’90s, telecommunication design seemed like a logical expansion to an already established engineering practice. By 2004, AV and security design would become the next layers. Today, RTKL is part of the global Arcadis umbrella of companies, and maintains offices around the globe, operating in almost every sector. Throughout that time, AV has been evolving exponentially. Sound & Communications

Although we still do recognize AV as a specialized skillset, we now go to market as technology consultants. The fields of AV, security, telecom, wireless and IT have so many points of intersection and overlap that it’s no longer sufficient to have expertise in only one area. Although they don’t necessarily need to be experts in all areas, it’s crucial that today’s AV designers have a holistic understanding of the broader technology systems that span a client’s facility.

Albeit outside the boundaries of traditional AV design, terms such as workplace mobility, BYOD, PSIM, PON and the Internet of Things should be familiar and comfortable topics of conversation for any “technology” designer. Technology is changing exponentially: more quickly every day than the day before. The approach to design that worked 10 years ago isn’t necessarily the same approach that will thrive over the next 10 years. Those who embrace new technology in all aspects of their life seem to make that transition most easily. The one thing that has remained consistent over the past 60 years is that which sets our industry apart from so many others: heart and soul.

Regardless of where we are in the technology evolution process, it’s that heart and soul that will always define design excellence. Understanding and consistently highlighting that has kept Sound & Communications Magazine relevant and fresh over the years, in the midst of an ever-changing industry.

Written by Tony Warner, President of Phase Shift Consulting

Originally Published in Sound & Communication