By Scott Welsh, CTS-D, AV Operations Manager, VectorUSA

Scott Welsh, CTS-D, AV Operations Manager, VectorUSA

Since the dawn of the 21st century, organizational audiovisual (AV) needs have seemingly moved light-years beyond what’s now viewed as antiquated.

Networked audio, video and control solutions have replaced old-school projection and other systems relied upon only a couple decades back. Looking forward to the year 2020 and beyond, AV technology will only continue to evolve and improve.

Today’s audiovisual solutions are much more complex and require customized planning and research due to the vast number of options available — including ever larger and sharper video displays with 16K resolution and an array of cloud-based video conferencing services. However, it’s critically important to not only end up with the right solution that meets your needs, but one that’s simple and easy to use. A well thought out team-oriented approach to managing your AV project will help you obtain and exceed the desired results.

“A well thought out team-oriented approach to managing your AV project will help you obtain and exceed the desired results. ”

Scott Welsh, CTS-D, AV Operations Manager, VectorUSA

PMO ensures well-integrated AV and IT

Once you’ve decided to upgrade your current AV system or install a brand new one, working with an AV solutions provider who uses a project management office (PMO) approach ensures that both your AV, IT and structured cabling requirements are well-integrated and managed. While some companies provide networking, structured cabling, and security along with their AV services, their divided approach won’t work in your best interests, especially on larger projects.

In addition to a PMO, a sound AV provider’s organizational structure should include a competent team of sales professionals, an estimation and engineering pre-sales team, help desk for customer calls, technical teams who perform the project work, as well as design engineers, field leads, and system commissioners who explore all your organization’s needs.

Identifying your pain points

As you further evaluate your AV needs, the project needs analysis process should identify your primary pain points and concerns, what you need resolved or improved, or even what changes you might want to make to your current AV system to simplify its operation.

Chances are, you’re already familiar with your current AV conference rooms and their limitations. And even if you’re a startup, you probably have other AV experiences that you can look back on that were lacking in any number of ways.

For example:

  • Have you experienced walking into a room to manually turn on a video screen only to find out it doesn’t work or that the required connections are missing?
  • Do you prefer a system that turns on automatically when you enter a conference room and allows participants to effortlessly connect their devices?
  • If all you have is an on-premise video conferencing system and you want to connect with a client who uses BlueJeans, what kind of issues will you encounter?
  • For small group meetings involving multiple laptops, what kinds of huddle space technologies are available to meet these types of needs?

Cloud-based video conferencing improvements

Gone are the days when organizations relied on a fixed piece of hardware and special ISDN lines or trunks to place video calls. Today, cloud-based video conferencing systems such as Zoom, BlueJeans, and Polycom are just a handful of the providers available that are the norm. It’s now easy to push content through a network with even 20 people on a call at any given moment.

“It’s now easy to push content through a network with even 20 people on a call at any given moment.”

Scott Welsh, CTS-D, AV Operations Manager, VectorUSA

Even with so many cloud-based video conferencing options available, the biggest challenge is for the providers to interact if two of them are being used simultaneously at the opposite ends of a call. That’s where an experienced AV solutions provider can step in to make that happen. And as an ever-morphing technology, that capability will only continue to improve over time.

Training benefits everyone

An AV provider that invests in training for various certification requirements is a tremendous asset for your project from the very beginning. Whether the AV provider trains its staff or makes sure its staff undertakes self-training, your organization will experience a huge advantage until your project’s complete and beyond that for service and support.

Also, an AV provider that participates in ongoing training ensures that they’ll continue to grow to meet your needs, make improvements along the way, and stay current on the latest technology.

And as a member of AVIXA (Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, producer of the InfoComm tradeshow and administrator of the ANSI Certified Technology Specialist™ or CTS® program), your AV provider’s project team will offer expertise based on three levels of certification: CTS, CTS-D (Design) and CTS-I (Installation) to help resolve your most pressing pain points concerning AV.

Just what you need

An AV provider’s primary responsibility when managing your AV project is to provide you just what you need, and no more. Although an experienced provider will also keep you abreast of new or trending technology to ensure you are informed should your needs and/or pain points increase as your business grows! If you’ve run out of patience with your antiquated system and are fed up with mounting service call costs that by now could have bought you a brand-new system, you’re not alone.

“An AV provider’s primary responsibility when managing your AV project is to provide you just what you need, and no more.”

Scott Welsh, CTS-D, AV Operations Manager, VectorUSA

But just because you’re in the market for an AV system upgrade doesn’t mean you’ll have to take on more than your existing requirements and needs. If all you need is a baseline system due to a limited budget, then by all means, that’s what you should aim for. Or, if you require more cutting-edge technology that takes care of your current and future needs, there are excellent solutions available that allow you to expand as you grow.

After your AV project’s complete

Although many AV providers in the industry only offer a 90-day workmanship guarantee on a new AV system, a one-year workmanship guarantee provides peace of mind for your technology investment.

In addition, close attention after a project’s complete includes following up to make sure that you’ve received all of your documentation and whether you have any questions or concerns. And if your organization tends to experience periodic staff turnover, the right service and maintenance plan will ensure seamless transitions.

As you can easily see, a well thought out team-oriented AV systems integration approach will be much more successful than what a single project manager approach can handle.

Contact our experienced audio visual solutions team for a personalized evaluation and consultation of your existing and proposed technology.