I love working with technology.  It doesn’t particularly matter what field it relates to or what its use is, I find it all interesting.  I appreciate how technology allows people to communicate better, how it improves the way something or someone sounds, how visual clarity can be enhanced, how it presents us with new and exciting possibilities almost daily.  Given the opportunity it presents to improve our home and working life, surely everyone loves technology as much as I do?  How could you not?  After all, it plays a part in all of our lives making things easier, more productive, more enjoyable, and allows us to be more successful.

Chris Burton - Video Collaboration Specialist with Merge ICT Group
Chris Burton - Video Collaboration Specialist at Merge ICT Group

Aside from playing around with computers and home theatre systems at home, my first taste of proper commercial technology came from working in the realm of corporate events audio visual.  I was exposed to installed automation systems in meeting rooms, AV for conferences of varying scales and industries, large scale gala dinners and events, and everything in between. 

Working initially as an onsite technician for an in-house AV company you get to know your rooms and equipment very well and how to get the most out of them, but not much else from the outside.  An opportunity to work with other professionals across varying environments presented itself so I progressed from there into a role where I moved around to where the work was.  This kept things interesting as we never really knew what we were going to be presented with until arriving onsite.  This might come as a challenge for some, but I embraced it and tackled the challenges head on, using them to hone my skills and develop the ability to think on my feet and solve problems quickly.  Each environment varied in some way, it kept my mind sharp and engaged, and allowed me to learn a lot.

Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the events industry, longer term projects and relationships was what I craved and I found myself back in a corporate onsite role.  This time however as part of a small AV team supporting a global financial institution.  Moving away from large scale events and non-installed setups, I started to learn more about rack-based audio visual systems, and how multiple systems can be installed in a single room solution that combines integrated audio and video options, as well as automated room control.  Over the years I started to work more closely with external vendors for room upgrades and various projects.  This, combined with a move into the team manager role and starting to understand more about how businesses function, sparked my interest to develop my career further.  When the time was right, I decided to look a little left-field of my previous roles and started to focus more on positions where I could assist businesses of all different shapes and sizes to improve and support their AV and video conferencing environments, yet could still be hands-on with the technology should I feel the urge.

Yamaha CS-700 video conferencing and collaboration system
The recently announced Yamaha CS-700 all-in-one huddle room system.

So here I find myself at Merge ICT Group, where it continues to be an exciting and fast-paced working environment where I’m gaining daily exposure to cutting edge AV technology in the new era of cloud based video conferencing and collaboration.  I love working with my clients and exposing them to this technology, and helping them develop AV strategies unique to their business.  I love seeing the look on their faces when they witness technology that's already available to them, in some cases without even having to pay a single cent.

Fully integrated audio visual conference room installations are still part of the market, yet small to medium sized “huddle” rooms are becoming more and more commonplace due to the exploding adoption of video communication across most industries, and this is something I'm very excited about.  The range and quality of equipment on the market to enable these rooms with video and wireless screen sharing seems boundless, and it’s just the beginning.  All-in-one speaker/camera/microphone solutions, like the new Yamaha CS-700, with a single cable connection to a screen and another for a Mac or PC allow these rooms to be setup as a group video meeting point in a fraction of the time and cost of years gone by, allowing large roll outs to happen quickly and seamlessly.  Install a small PC behind the screen with a cloud based video and web conferencing service such as Zoom, and the room is fully equipped to connect in high definition to anyone around the globe, at the click of a button.

"It's only going to get better, and we as people stand to benefit."

This is just what is happening right now.  Whilst some may pass it off as a “marketing buzzword”, the unified communication and collaboration (UCC) industry is currently the fastest growing sector in IT.  Not convinced?  How about a value of US$25billion by the end of this year, and there’s no indication of it slowing in the years ahead.  This is why I love technology - it’s pretty great right now, but it’s only going to get better, and we as people stand to benefit.

AUTHOR
Chris Burton

Business Development & Technical Support Manager | Video Collaboration Specialist. I'm passionate about helping clients realise and expand their company's potential with audio visual and video conferencing technology. I love all things technology, I love working with great people and I get kicks out of seeing my customers succeed.

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