What's in a name

By Mike Cuckow, Sales Director, EMEA & Asia Pacific at Cabletime

The audio-visual technology world is full of acronyms from IPTV to HEVC, from SD-HD to UC. Of course they all mean something, they are just an easier way to refer to technology terms or descriptions. But haven’t we reached the point where terminology has started to confuse rather than clarify?

Take Unified Communications as an example. The term has been around for a while but it seems the actual concept of UC is constantly evolving – the bringing together of a number of technologies that will work together – don’t we also refer to that concept as connectivity, convergence, even collaboration? The bottom line is that customers just want solutions that meet their needs, are compatible and deliver the required result. When they contact the systems integrator upon whose skills and expertise they will rely, do they actually ask for Unified Communications? I doubt it. 

Digital signage, dynamic signage, screenmedia and IPTV are more cases in point. Are these all different technologies, different descriptors or could they all be summed up with the simple term ‘digital media’?

The word ‘digital’ actually references the way technology processes data in a binary format as opposed to the way that ‘analogue’ processes data. But in reality our lives revolve around digital devices and technologies - computers, TV, music, phones, cameras, etc – and so ‘digital’ has now come to describe a way of life, enhanced by our use of technology and all that it enables. Digital media is a neat way of encompassing everything from the webinar and the video conference through to the information screens in travel termini and live streaming of a music concert or football match.

By hanging on to, or even inventing new terms, we are simply making it more difficult for customers to ask for what they need from resellers. These days it is the unique life that isn’t touched on a daily basis by technology. We are familiar with the myriad features that digital TV, iPhones, iPads and android mobiles offer us and we know how to make good use of them. That level of technical knowledge and the sophistication of consumer products mean that customers understand what they can get in the business environment and we should be using the same concise and straightforward terminology to describe it.

Resellers are practised at asking the right questions of customers and recommending solutions in a language that the customer will understand. So surely when media is easier than ever to download, access and view, whether we’re in the office, on the road, at a conference, in a public place or at home, it doesn’t need to be made complicated by giving it too many mystifying terms. 

Date: 10/12/2014
By: Mike Cuckow

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