Karan Manral, Head – Special Projects and Marketing, Actis believes that the market for the AV technologies is opening up in India in education sector. With the wider scope of adoption of tools among the premier institutes, the ROI will improve significantly in the long run.
How do you see the audio visual market growth?
The broader audio visual market is growing quickly in Asia, perhaps faster than anywhere else in the world. Speaking more specifically, we believe that the market for AV technologies and solutions in the education sector in India is only just opening up.
So far the implementation in schools, colleges and other learning institutions has been limited to specific tools (like a projector, or a whiteboard). Also the adoption of more powerful tools was limited to the premier institutions like IIT, IIM, ISB and so on.
But with newer concepts like Networked AV and more flexible tools like portable VC trolleys, this is now becoming a more widely applied set of practices.
What are the stumbling blocks and problems of the market?
We think that educators are sometimes a little short-sighted in calculating the ROI and impact of these technologies. Perhaps this is understandable keeping in mind for the rapid growth that the education segment has seen in the past decade. There was also a tendency to use these technologies to impress, as opposed to actually using it in a way that it enhances what the faculty is trying to communicate.
Another area where there was a bottleneck and where rapid improvement is now happening is the quality of educational content – both because content producers are getting better and because schools and faculty have developed the skills to create better content. But all of this is changing, and we believe that we are already seeing a shift on why and how AV technology is being applied to educational environments.
How many kinds of audio-visual products are available in the education sector?
There are many, audio-visual products that are useful for the education sector, such as – interactive projectors, video conferencing systems, visualisers, audio tools, wireless connectivity systems, mobile videoconferencing systems, video content recorders and streamers.
But we believe that the design and integration of these products is the key to creating effective learning environments and help institutions in applying enterprise grade AV technologies (like wireless connectivity) in a way that makes learning simpler and easier. Given the realities of the education sector, we try to design their environments in a way that provides them with good value over the longer term – both on capital and operational costs.
What are the technology trends that have strengthened the teaching and learning process? How can these help the specially-abled people?
The list of trends that are relevant to educational institutions and which are now coming to maturity is pretty amazing – Networked AV, control and automation solutions, video and unified communications, lighting control and energy management, media recording and streaming, video conferencing on the cloud and so on.
For people with learning disabilities the greatest change is the ability to “customise” the experience and content delivery to suit their requirements via different kinds of video and audio aids. For example, there are ways to create audio recordings so students with hearing disabilities can have sound reinforcement via headphones or through ceiling speakers in a specific area. They can also get “audio notes” by recordings of the teaching session. Students with visual disabilities can similarly use video recordings to refer to sessions from their classes.