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What’s Next? 2024 Predictions | Integrator Insights

“Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.” - Peter Drucker

 

For those few of you who noticed, the Integrator Insights column had quite a hiatus during the second half of 2023, but, hey, January is the month when recommitments seem possible, so here we go! As is my newfound tradition, I’ll start the year reviewing my predictions from last year and then make a new set of increasingly wild predictions for 2024!

 

Scoring 2023 Predictions

In addition to the highly visual quote from Peter Drucker above, Ken Liu has said, “Trying to predict the future is a loser's game.” So, was he correct about my 2023 predictions? Let’s find out.

Prediction #1: “Hybrid Learning has reached a new plateau, but growth will slow.” I’ll admit this is hard to measure, but anecdotally I would say I was correct on this. So much effort and focus was put into this during the pandemic, that the pendulum has naturally swung back a bit. Hybrid is here to stay, but in-person instruction has never felt more important. Score: Probably correct.

Prediction #2: “Higher Education focused coverage for ISE will be the best it has ever been.” This was an easy prediction and absolutely true. With dedicated higher ed press staff, podcasts, articles, and social media coverage from the higher education perspective, there’s no question this was solid prediction. Score: 100%

Prediction #3: “AV-over-IP will continue to become standard for new building construction and major renovations.” I’m not going to lie; I think this prediction may have been somewhat premature. Is AV-over-IP continuing to grow? Yes. Is it becoming the de facto standard for audiovisual in new construction? No, probably not yet. Why? Many reasons, but one is the limited use cases for distributing video between rooms. Within a room, traditional switching and HDBaseT extension continues to work well, is reliable, and is well-understood. For AV-over-IP to take over in-room distribution, the prices still need to come down a bit. It will happen, but it may be a couple more years. Score: Nope

Prediction #4: “You will hear significantly less about the Metaverse and significantly more on practical advances in machine learning like ChatGPT.” This is 100% true! We have heard next to nothing about the Metaverse during 2023 and heard a LOT about generative machine learning solutions (yeah, yeah, generative AI if you must). ChatGPT has nearly achieved mainstream adoption, and fun discussions around generative image solutions has taken off. Score: Oh, yeah!

Prediction #5: “Supply chains will be nearing pre-pandemic lead-times by the end of 2023.” With only a couple notable exceptions that shall not be named, this has thankfully come to pass. We can now order and receive essentially all our hardware in a few days again. One or two manufacturers have even made a marketing point to state their warehouse levels are at pre-pandemic levels. Score: Yes! (Finally!)

Prediction #6: “The ETC conference hosted at USC will be epic.” Yep! Score: Definitely

Prediction #7: “We will see a slate of new professional grade devices that serve as generalized PC docking stations supporting video output, audio input and output, USB devices, and up to 65W of charging power.” I guess this all depends on how you define “a slate.” In general, though, this is true. With products from Extron, Lightware, Kramer, and others, we are finally seeing products that can provide that true one-cable experience. Score: I think so!

Prediction #8: “There will be increased interactions between higher education AV staff in North America with staff from Europe.” Sadly, I’m not sure this happened. While there were increased interactions during ISE, I don’t feel like it grew much past that. Score: Nope

Prediction #9: “We will start to get requests from faculty for 8K displays.” Actually, and mercifully, I have not received a single inquiry from any faculty or staff yet about 8K displays. A quick survey of my peers only had one out of 20 indicate they had a faculty member request this. Score: Wrong

Prediction #10: “The Iowa State Cyclone men’s and women’s basketball teams will both make the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournaments.” They both made the tourney, and both had relatively high seeds, but both lost in the first round. Bummer. Score: No joy.

At best I got 6 out of 10. With that score, do I dare try again in 2024? Well, of course! I’m not afraid of crushing humiliation.

 

What will happen in 2024?

With all the prognostication powers I possess, here are my predictions for 2024:

Prediction #1: At least one major Pro AV control system manufacturer will implement a comprehensive voice control solution. There have been small experiments here and there, but thus far nobody is providing a significant proprietary built-in voice control solution for non-residential pro AV. This could be an opportunity for a 2nd-tier control system company to create a differentiator. Look for a major announcement around voice control in 2024. (And, no, honestly, I don’t have any insider knowledge.)

Prediction #2: We will see higher education promote generative “AI” in 2024 instead of fear it. The fact is, the cat is out of the bag around generative solutions, so we will see a major shift in attitudes within higher education to find ways to embrace it and teach students how to properly utilize it. This has already been happening in small pockets, so in some ways this is not that brave of a prediction. Prediction #3: HETMA (Higher Education Technology Managers Alliance) will double in membership in 2024 and surpass 3000 total members (both institutional and corporate). With a continual expansion of partnerships, programs, and offerings, the organization will not only gain membership in North America, but it will see expansion and even unofficial (or official?) local chapters arise in Europe and Australia. I

can’t possible imagine you would be reading this article and are NOT already a member of HETMA, but if you aren’t join now! It is free!

Prediction #4: Native USB-C connections will become the “must have” accessory for new higher ed audiovisual solutions. Goodbye Blu-ray players! Whatever input you used to occupy will be going to someone else – the USB-C connection. I’m not saying there will be 100% adoption, but “signature” projects will expect it. The time is ripe. We are seeing the growth of hardware Pro AV all-in-one dock options out there (see my 2023 prediction 7 above), and an increasing array of affordable quality USB-C cables at useful lengths. In addition, we are seeing a rapid increase in the number of laptops that no longer offer a native HDMI output but only offer USB-C connections. Why would you offer a USB-C to HDMI cable adapter dongle when you can actually provide a single native USB-C cable with multiple USB device support, charging, and video and audio output? This prediction is almost too easy.

Prediction #5: The ETC Conference hosted at Iowa State University from October 1st through the 4th will be the best live higher education technology conference ever. With an award-winning AV team hosting the event, how could it not be? I’m telling you now, if you don’t attend, the FOMO will haunt you for the rest of your life, so mark it on your calendar and tell your boss you’re going!

Prediction #6: Everyone is enamored with artificial intelligence. In 2024, I predict there will be a large (and scary) announcement around actual AI – maybe something along the lines of an AI model with 100 trillion neural connections matching the number in the human brain.

Prediction #7: I predict array microphone technology will expand their reach to other use cases outside of conferencing. A portable solution on top of a camcorder? Microphone arrays around the outside of a computer monitor? Microphone arrays designed for television and movie studio recording? An array designed to mimic multi-track recording of a band? I don’t know what form it will take, but it is coming.

Prediction #8: Apple will fix the “HDCP problem.” Whoa, whoa, hear me out here. If HETMA reaches 3000 members representing hundreds of millions of dollars in Apple purchases, what are the odds of getting a serious conversation with high-level engineers at Apple? They go way up. They will at least provide a comprehensive guideline on when and how HDCP is implemented in the infrastructure and the expected outcomes of various scenarios. This will be the power of advocacy.

Prediction #9: In 2024 we will see the rise to prominence of two of the newer AV-over-IP protocols: Dante AV and IPMX. Look for a whole slew of new products to be released at ISE and InfoComm in 2024 built around these two competing protocols. Dante is dominant in the audio-over-IP distribution market with tremendous name recognition and an almost flawless reputation, so their addition of video seems likely to be attractive to the Pro AV market. IPMX is certainly less well known (so far), but is being thoughtfully designed with features like HDCP management and USB support all built on the well tested SMPTE ST 2110 broadcast standard. Both are poised to make significant gains in 2024.

Prediction #10: Integrator Insights will actually have at least 12 columns in 2024.

What are your predictions for 2024? Which of my predictions are no-brainers and which are NEVER gonna happen? Let us know on the socials