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Consumerized AV: Exploiting Consumer Hardware Trends for AV Software

Consumerized AV: Exploiting Consumer Hardware Trends for AV Software

We are a software company that solves traditional AV problems. The AV market has been partly surprised by our success. After all, most of traditional AV is based on specialized hardware and custom firmware.

While we have plenty of fans, we have also had our skeptics.

“You can’t sell software here! The AV resellers won’t get it!”

These skeptics have missed the point of the software vs. hardware debate. Software always needs hardware and vice versa. The type of hardware that your software is married to is what matters.

Today we announced the launch of the Solstice Pod, a turn-key appliance that runs Solstice. The Pod is a small-form-factor console that turns any display (including 4K panels), in any room, into a wireless media streaming and collaboration environment.

Is Mersive already selling hardware, like Sol, for instance? Yes. But the Solstice Pod is different – it is a consumer Android appliance.

We have selected a platform for Solstice that is being driven by Moore’s law in a big way. The system on a chip driving the Solstice Pod is also used by gamers worldwide to play Android-based 3D games, downloaded from the Google play store. Tens of millions of users have driven the evolution of the hardware. This has provided us a modern and high-performance system at consumer price points. This is dramatically different than traditional AV hardware that designs a system specifically for one purpose, such as a video switch. We’ve locked down the hardware for several years and will update the firmware periodically.

The difference between commodity hardware/software and specialized hardware/firmware couldn’t be more dramatic. Software is far more flexible because it does not exploit the “bare metal” characteristics of the hardware, like firmware does. This allows solutions like the Pod to evolve at the speed of software, with the click of a button to get new features versus calling a reseller to upgrade firmware. When was the last time you were excited by a new “firmware” release?

With consumer hardware/software products, most of the work is being done by the software, making upgrades and new features more meaningful. The other thing to keep in mind is that using consumer hardware removes R&D and custom manufacturing costs from the product. This is why we have lowered the price of Solstice to $799 for up to 4 users and $999 for unlimited users.

Will some AV folks look at today’s announcement and think “I told you so”? Probably.

By combining Solstice software with a consumer box, we are now able to hand AV resellers something that looks like AV hardware but performs like AV software. This in itself is a well-known model in the start-up community as a great recipe for success: to look for specialized hardware in a market and replace it with consumer hardware and smart software.

Consumerized AV: Exploiting Consumer Hardware Trends for AV Software

The Solstice Pod is the best of both worlds. Resellers will be pleased with the ease of deployment and the familiarity of hardware while customers will be happy with an AV product that is based on software.

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