Walk into a typical meeting room. It has a wall-mounted display, a way to hardwire in your computer, and a phone system.
Arriving a few minutes early, you set up and get ready for the meeting. You need to share content with others.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Hopefully, everything works.”
Uttering a phrase like that suggests you've experience poor AV technology integration. Either it was the technology or worse, it was the integrator.
When you’re in this situation, you need the system up and running so you can simply meet with others.
Maybe now you're thinking, "It shouldn't be this difficult."
While totally common, these sorts of situations shouldn’t happen. There shouldn’t be a subtle anxiety that comes when walking into a meeting room, or firing up the display.
Technology should work together seamlessly so that you can meet with others, share content and stay productive, without having to overcome technology issues.
You should walk in, sit down, and everything should work according to plan. You shouldn’t have to untangle cables, peer behind the monitor, or frantically open up Google to troubleshoot.
“I’m a physician. I’m not an expert in AV,” said Jon Allen, director of simulation training at the University of North Dakota (UND). “AV is really complicated and frankly, way above my head.”
For those in medicine, education or any other field for that matter, the technology and what it does shouldn’t be overly complicated.
The technology should be simple to use, and it should have a similar interface so that it’s easily adopted for employees.
Working with a technology partner should take away those issues, those second guesses, and self-led computer diagnoses.
When you work with an integrator, the company should be:
If the integrator struggles to accommodate the project financially because of its size, that's a red flag. You shouldn't worry whether or not it can finish the project and support the systems long term.
Your organization should perform a full financial evaluation into each integrator to determine whether or not they're capable of delivering on expectations. Integrators should be transparent in their financial well being. If not, consider other candidates for the job.
You expect that an integrator or vendor comes to the job site prepared and ready to get the work done. If your integrator doesn't have a skilled workforce of technicians, engineers and support staff, that's red flag number two.
What's more, does the integrator have an extensive enough network to source the right equipment for the job? Today, the marketplace is saturated with manufacturers, but not all are created equal. Your integrator should have close partnerships with the most trusted and reliable technology companies in the market.
Systems Integrators Must Deliver On Expectations
When you walk into a meeting space and try to bring up a presentation on the big screen, it should work the first time with no hassle or second-guessing why it’s not working.
A technology integrator should work with you to identify your goals, expectations and use cases for the technology, whether it's a 60,000-seat stadium or a standard-issue conference room.
No matter the situation, working with an integrator should take the stress out of identifying and delivering the technical solutions.
You shouldn't have to scour the internet searching through hundreds of products to figure out which is best for your unique situation. Not only is that overwhelming, you likely have more pressing matters at work. An integrator's technical staff should take care of product selection, design and install — all with your feedback and approval.
The system might include multiple devices from various manufacturers so that you’re getting the best possible solution for your budget and your needs. And, before being installed on site, technicians build and test the system to make sure that it’ll actually work.
Given the pre-install testing, in the event that something does go wrong, integrators should offer ongoing support to troubleshoot and address the issue at hand – whether online, over the phone or in person.
Partnerships Should Be Long Term, Not Transactional
Once you’ve approached a systems integrator about your needs, the relationship should be long-term, with open lines of communication that keep both parties looped in.
“When you work with someone for so long, they become your family – like brothers and sisters,” said Derrick Hammonds, manager or information systems at 4 Bears Casino and Lodge Event Center, a client of AVI's.
At the end of the day, an integrator should have the experience to solve your technical challenges by building a system that achieves what it’s supposed to. That way, the technology opens the lines of communication and then gets out of the way.