By Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I, Chief Executive Officer at IAS Technology
Developing & Deploying Standard Technology Solutions Across the Enterprise!
Understanding the challenges associated with traditional AV channels on an enterprise or global scale is vital to the success of the modern day audiovisual systems integrator. There is no substitute for experience when designing and deploying large scale enterprise systems. There are integrators of varying quality around the world with many being very traditional as we know them and still not IT friendly. There are many design approaches when discussing enterprise standardization and one that is prevalent is the use of non-proprietary solutions. Solutions that eliminate variables, mitigate risk and increase room up-time for the customer is goal number one. In addition, all solutions must simplify the process of user adoption and that is not about a simplified user interface but instead focuses on exceptional user experience. The user experience is vital to success and you can read more about the importance of this one aspect here.
Why are corporate standards always discussed? Well, it is important to increase meeting productivity by reducing start up time to get the technology working and create an environment where the technology is a tool not a hinderance. This simple task can save time, money and increase use of the technology resulting in better meetings. These goals along with quality products, manufacturer support and added features such as central control or managed services provide the best solutions. This applies to companies located in one city, a region, or with offices across the globe. Begin by developing a strategy that mirrors best practices based upon defined criteria and the elimination of variables.
Variables are the biggest barriers to a consistent experience nationally or globally. What are some of these variables?
- Different installers
- Different control programmers
- Different infrastructure and cable pulls
- Different equipment availability
- Cable termination
- Power requirements
- And the list goes on…
Remember that specifications, and installation procedures alone do not eliminate variables!
Variables must be eliminated as part of the system and process design. It is important to take steps to do just that. Examples include:
- Eliminate the need for proprietary cabling and termination
- Streamline systems design, use less hardware
- Make operation of the systems automatic for end users
- Occupancy sensors for usage analytics and to return rooms to availability if not being used
- Enable remote reboot and direct monitoring of all devices
- Minimize the installation process to the equivalent of “plug n play.”
- Build equipment “pallets” for tables and displays that are pre-fabricated, pre-programmed, pre-staged/tested, and have clearly labelled I/O panels for any voltage power, data, and HDBT allows for a consistent product and standard of quality
Other features to be considered are the ability to remotely program, commission, monitor, document, and control the systems centrally using server-based AV enterprise solutions. Additionally, centralized document management will enhance or expedite troubleshooting and help desk tickets.
Clients may choose to work with larger integrators but it is important to know that all great and innovative integration companies large or small can deliver a quality service, product, and experience. Smaller firms more often than not will deliver a better product that fits the needs of the user and the delivery can most often be done through strategic partners with identical core values and beliefs. A truly standardized solution is one that can be deployed globally by several different firms and still result in a consistent product. This is only achievable when you begin early in the process, even earlier than the design stage.
So how do you create standardized repeatable solutions? First understand the challenges, needs and desires of the user. Develop a proof of concept to ensure both parties have a vested interest in the solution as this is an important part of the process. It will help determine the nature of the AV system, minimize risk and eliminate variables. The key is to understand infrastructure, changing needs, budget, and the impact of AV related expenses on the building.
Once a solution has been crafted and finalized, deliver a clear and understandable proposal and process. The goal is to create cost conscious solutions that are well engineered, IT friendly, easily staged, scalable and repeatable within a region, the country, or throughout the world. Each system created must enhance the user experience, minimize setup or down time, minimize infrastructure needs and ideally provide centralized management. Central management is key for analyzing use for future deployments, archival of system documentation and technical support. A true audiovisual strategic partner will provide solutions that are reliable, repeatable, and scalable.
Once the requirements are set reach to organizations like AVIXA * or AQAV. Processes like the AV9000 will help you deploy a quality management system assuring the projects are delivered complete, on time, with “zero defects”, and as expected. As AQAV states, a battery of tests to be performed at various milestones throughout an AV project is vital. The results of these tests can be used as a vehicle of information to those who applied the labor in the production of the milestone, so that continual improvement may take place. There is a dire need in the Audiovisual Industry to supply complete systems that meet or exceed the performance specifications expected and without a formal Quality Management System in place firms run the risk of dissatisfying their clients on each and every project. As the customer becomes more educated, the demands for quality have increased, and a zero-defect system (no “punch-list”) that is installed on time has become the baseline for expectations. **
Once systems have been designed and the process of deployment begins it is important to not overlook all of the remaining steps required for a smooth and seamless execution. Proper system documentation, a solid project management process, pre-fabrication/staging process, site installation, training, and managed services are all vital to success. Those are all topics that can be greatly expanded on but shall be left for another day…
* AVIXA is the association who represents the entire audiovisual industry, and it is a recognized standard writing organization, providing standards for key AV system metrics, as well as best practices. Visit www.avixa.org for more information.
** Text and principles from the AQAV AV 9000 which includes the management principles and quality management systems described in ISO 9001:2008, the auditable international standard for quality management systems. Additionally, AV 9000 provides for a standard measurement and monitoring battery of tests that are applied at the key milestones in AV project development. Visit www.aqav.org for more information.
This article has been re-posted here with permission from Jeremy Caldera, it originally appeared here.
About Jeremy Caldera
Jeremy is the Chief Executive Officer at IAS Technology. He is a part of the elite group of dual certified CTS-D and CTS-I holders. Along with being a member of the AVIXA University senior faculty, Jeremy helped developed the Audiovisual System Design curriculum at Columbia College Chicago. He sits as the current Chair of the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) CTS Certification Steering Committee, is a part of the AVIXA governance as a member of the Leadership Search Committee (LSC), and moderates the revision of the AVIXA/ANSI Standard for Audiovisual Documentation and Coordination Processes. Jeremy was recently awarded the 2016 AVIXA Educator of the Year Award, 2015 AVIXA Young AV Professional Award, named a 2015 Top 40 Influencer Under 40 by CI Magazine, and Top 40 Peoria Business Leader Under 40 in 2017. On LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/jwcaldera.