As equipment manufacturers, we are often asked about the interoperability between our products and other manufacturer's devices. As technology managers, that’s an incredibly important question to ask. Your every day priority is to make sure that audiovisual and digital signage systems in classrooms and around campus are working properly. From control systems to HDBaseT products to converters, adapters and displays and everywhere in between, interoperability is of paramount importance.
One thing to keep in mind is that as end-user representatives, your voice MUST be heard and it carries A LOT of weight. If devices aren’t “playing nice” it is important that you discuss this with the manufacturers or the manufacturer reps. This information can be used to create updates, patches or new products that will address these issues.
Additionally, demo the equipment in a variety of scenarios before committing to the equipment list for a project whenever possible. Many manufacturers allow you to evaluate product for a few weeks prior to purchasing it. This is in your best interest and theirs; potentially cutting down on future tech support calls, returns and problems.
Finally, making sure that software, hardware and firmware updates/ upgrades won’t create interoperability hiccups can be difficult or uncertain. But again, whenever possible, the question about potential future roadblocks should be addressed early on.
Sometimes manufacturers don’t make interoperability a priority because it is in their best economic interest for users to incorporate as much from a single manufacturer into a system as possible. This typically doesn’t allow for the most economical or efficient system for the end-users. Other times devices don’t “speak to” each other because a non-standard language is being used. Your feedback is imperative to ensuring the right products are designed, manufactured and paired with your best interest in mind- your students, faculty and staff.