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AV technology’s role in a sustainable workplace

Premium solutions with lower energy consumption that reduces TCO, data capture that facilitates better choices, and remotely managed scheduling can all help.

Sustainability is at the top of the global agenda. Whether it’s the UK’s parliament declaring a climate emergency or leading festivals asking retailers to stop selling single-use tents, it’s clear stakeholders from policy makers and consumers to businesses are each looking to play their part in building a more sustainable future. The growing concern comes with good reason – the UN suggests we have just 11 years left to avert “climate catastrophe”.

In the modern, connected workplace, energy is in constant use, for almost every task imaginable. With industrial and commercial uses accounting for nearly two-thirds of the world’s total energy consumption, businesses are rightly looking at how more sustainable practices – from travel taken, to technology tools used – can be implemented throughout an organisation.

Meanwhile AV technology in particular – from digital signage to tablet-based room booking systems – is growing in use throughout businesses. As feature innovations and the growth of AV over IP mean AV tech is becoming a smarter, more powerful and a more significant part of the modern workplace than ever before, AV and IT managers will increasingly be called on to not only find the best solution, but the most sustainable one too.

However, as businesses’ need for AV solutions and the energy that powers them has continued to grow, new technologies are simultaneously able to offer greater efficiencies and clever features to manage use. These can enable businesses to balance the use of cutting-edge tech with the need to reach sustainable goals.

One of the most straightforward ways in which businesses can judge the impact of AV technology on their sustainability targets is through its energy consumption. Premium solutions are likely to have greater energy efficiency than cheaper alternatives. As such, not only do they provide a greener option for businesses, they often also offer huge operational savings and a much lower total cost of ownership, once life-time energy use is taken into account.

While energy consumption is a key metric for sustainable businesses to be aware of, the environmental impact of disposing of old or broken technology should not be forgotten. Overall, an investment in higher-quality, longer-lasting and low-energy-use solutions will benefit not only the bottom line, but the planet too.

Beyond the hardware itself, just as smart meters and automation are increasingly being used by consumers to measure and manage their energy use in the home, new data-gathering tools and automated features are available to AV managers to ensure they can monitor and control every aspect of corporate AV use. Data capture is a key feature of total workplace AV management solutions (powerful software which controls connected AV devices and underpins facilities management, from room booking to the content shown on digital signage). Data can be captured by these tools and automatically reported in a concise way, showing information such as the total on-time for each device, that facilities managers can use to make more sustainable choices both in future technology investment and new technology uses.

Likewise, smart features, such as timed on and off functions with remote functionality mean AV managers can easily reduce energy consumption by turning off displays that aren’t in use. It’s even possible to schedule entire parts of a building’s AV network to shut off when employees or visitors are not present.

From scheduling the right off times for a single display to investing in an energy-efficient company-wide AV solution, more sustainable AV choices can be made at any scale in a business. Ultimately, any step taken is a positive step both for the business and the environment. Organisations are able to show off green credentials to a consumer base which places ever greater value on environmental concerns, reduce energy costs and streamline the workload of AV managers, who have an increasingly fundamental role to play in overall business and building management. At the same time, every energy-efficient choice takes us one step closer to a more sustainable future for the world’s businesses.