Airplay 2 and BYOD Rooms
So, today is the day of Apple's latest product announcements, and, as usual, the headlines will be about the updates to their ranges to appeal to users hungry for new features....including us at Pacific.
The AV industry has been providing BYOD technology for a while now, allowing those users with their new Apple (and Android, and Microsoft) devices to share wirelessly to displays in meeting rooms and presentations, initially using apps, and gradually embedding Airplay receivers for a better experience. We at Pacific have deployed many over recent years - especially the Barco ClickShare range, and the Kramer VIA range.
When IOS9 launched, Apple updated the Airplay system, and broke many of these 3rd party implementations, leaving the vendors scrabbling to launch firmware updates - while the IOS users were, as always with Apple, updating their OS in huge numbers (and a lot faster than the AV equipment was getting firmware updates!).
Today's announcement of IOS11 will see an update to Airplay - with the headline new feature the ability to connect to multiple speakers for native multi-room audio - and many of the home entertainment systems that can act as Airplay music receivers are ready for this functionality already. We were more interested though in whether the changes were going to have any effect on the screen-mirroring systems - so we've been testing IOS11 beta versions.
So far, the experience is good - ClickShare continues to work (Barco announced as much on their website) and Kramer VIA the same. Popular alternative product WePresent (also now part of Barco) confirm their systems are still going to work with Airplay 2. So it seems that this time, although the change to Airplay's functionality is significant, the screen-sharing element has been left backwards-compatible, and as an industry, we wont be facing the issues we did with IOS9.
It goes without saying that we've been testing on the latest firmware though, and this area, the jumps forward in compatibility and performance with each new version are well worth having - you have updated your BYOD systems, haven't you?