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Taking a green approach to AV

Latest News / Taking a green approach to AV

Among the many new solutions and projects on show at ISE this year, it was obvious that the audio visual industry was taking its environmental impact seriously. This was not a question of simply waving green credentials; those exhibitors who displayed their environmental initiatives, have the power to make a real difference. For a start, their solutions will reduce their carbon footprint and that of their customers. But perhaps more importantly, they inspire the rest of us with their ideas and commitment. 

Looking around it was clear to see that there are multiple ways in which we can all make a difference. From using components and technologies that have been designed with sustainability in mind, to energy-saving measures, through to corporate behaviour adjustments, every step we take in an environmentally-considered direction contributes to the global campaign to combat climate change. 

Hardware longevity is a positive

We consider the sustainability and environmental impact of our solutions seriously during our design and manufacturing process. It starts with the longevity of our hardware products. They are all built to last and built for purpose. In fact, the MediaStar brand has become synonymous with scalability and longevity and many of our customers are still successfully using solutions twenty years after first instalment because they can upgrade without the need to replace hardware.

This has always bucked a common trend in our sector. In general equipment manufacturers are expected to introduce new solutions annually to boost performance and encourage sales. Of course, this in turn requires new software, and often new peripherals, which naturally demands more resources. Built-in obsolescence is a signature hallmark of all technology industries but in the context of climate change this now represents sheer irresponsibility.    

In a recent commentary, Computer Weekly applauded other manufacturers, such as AWS, for extending the life of its data centre servers from four to five years and its networking equipment from five to six years. However the same article did point out that a new value system is needed for IT because while it is making more effort to be green, it is equally hampered by the necessity to sell more to deliver shareholder and stakeholder value. 

The day-to-day functioning of the solutions also has an important role to play in encouraging energy savings. Customers who are using Media Manager, for example, can automate switching off displays and trigger a switch back on when needed, which means that the more displays that are on the network, the more energy is saved. In addition all our hardware solutions are energy efficient, with low ambient temperatures and minimal power consumption.

Of course, there will be a point in the lifespan of hardware when it is no longer fit for purpose and to ensure high performance, companies will need to exchange old for new. Recycling of AV equipment is not widely discussed, and too much currently goes to landfill. But in fact many materials, such as tin, silicon, iron, aluminium and some plastics can be reused if they are recovered through recycling.

It is to be hoped that the example set by the green ISE exhibitors is widely adopted now we are all back from Barcelona. Companies in our industry strive to keep their customers happy, but their employees and partners too are beginning to demand more transparency in their approach to climate change, so committed action will become necessary. It’s time for change, and it needs to happen right now.