In early January, tech geeks and gurus headed to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Pretty much the epicenter of what’s new in the consumer electronics market.

In December, a similar scene, albeit on a smaller scale, also played out in Las Vegas. Called e-Courts, it’s the biennial technology show that attracts the who’s who in courtroom technology, including ExhibitOne.

As the only systems integrator exhibiting at e-Courts, we were in the catbird seat to take in the whole event and fully appreciate the implications of everything we saw and heard.

The big picture?

Virtually every technology on display was digital. The analog technologies that have carried our courtrooms for so long just aren’t being made anymore.

And that’s a problem. An overwhelming majority of courtrooms in the United States are still using analog-based AV technologies.

We talked to people from a few of those courts at our booth during the show. Just because they were all-analog doesn’t mean digital wasn’t interesting to them. In fact, virtually everyone who stopped by fell in love with the digital recording and media management capabilities of VIQ, (which was in our booth with us). Many wanted the digital benefits of BYOD (bring your own device), which would let court participants use their own devices to connect with a court’s presentation technology.

Yet, most ended up going home hoping to coax another year out of their analog systems.

Why?

In a word – BUDGET. It is the single-biggest obstacle to digital adoption.

The second-biggest obstacle? Complacency. In many people’s minds, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix (or in this case, replace) it.

We get it. Changing out a court’s presentation technology is a major undertaking. It’s not cheap. And the transition may take some people out of their comfort zone.

However, the change is inevitable. The only question is whether it happens in a controlled manner on your timetable or in a chaotic rush at any given moment on any given day when a component fails. This year? Next year? Who knows?

The good news? As long as there are replacement parts, we have you covered. The bad news? The clock is ticking.

As we discussed with e-Court attendees, going digital is not an “all-or-nothing” proposition. If carefully planned, you can transition incrementally by mixing and matching technology on your way to a full digital courtroom.

It may not be the best option, but certainly a better one than the Russian roulette alternative of firing up your AV equipment every day…right up to the moment when it doesn’t.

Would a “mix and match” upgrade strategy work for your court? It couldn’t hurt to find out. Even if you don’t have the budget for FY 2017…having a game plan in place for FY 2018 and beyond would certainly be more reassuring to everyone than the alternative. CLICK. CLICK. Oh oh!