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Associations Focus: Making Great Strides

Feb 1, 2007 12:02 PM

CEDIA, NSCA and InfoComm go further to offer their members quality education.

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InfoComm International

InfoComm International

Making Sense of InfoComm’s Two New ANSI-ISO Programs

At the end of last year, InfoComm International announced two exciting new developments regarding the promotion of industry quality. Both involve the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Standards Organization (ISO). These two new programs are part of a larger effort to align the association and the industry with world-class organizations. Our affiliation with ANSI, ISO, Project Management Institute, and others gives our programs recognition and credibility that extends beyond the industry, to our customers and the public.

What are ANSI and ISO?

ANSI is a private, non-profit membership organization focused on meeting the standards and conformity assessment requirements of its diverse constituency. It serves as a neutral, unbiased forum for the development of consensus agreements on technical, political, and policy issues, and is a representative of U.S. interests to national, regional, and international bodies.

ANSI is also the U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a network of national standards institutes from 157 countries that acts as a consensus builder, striving to reach solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society, including consumers and users. InfoComm’s commitment to working with these organizations will give the AV industry standing with other industries that use AV services and products.

Program 1: ANSI-ISO 17024 Accreditation of the CTS Program

In October 2006, InfoComm announced that it is applying for ANSI accreditation for its Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certifications under ISO 17024. This is a program to assure the public and the CTS certification holders that InfoComm is applying best practices to the administration of the CTS program. Certification is a very important issue to the CTS holder, the company he or she works for, and the customer, and InfoComm wants to assure all stakeholders that its program is of the highest quality—measuring the actual skills and knowledge needed in the industry.

Accreditation by ANSI will signify that InfoComm’s procedures meet ANSI’s essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus, and due process in accordance with the ISO 17024 standard. Currently, InfoComm's certification is the only AV industry certification program recognized by the National Certification Commission and the U.S. Veteran’s Administration.

Benefits of ANSI-ISO 17024 Accreditation

ANSI’s accreditation will promote the unique qualifications and expertise InfoComm’s certifications provide by ensuring the integrity of the certifications, enhancing consumer and public confidence in the certifications and the people who hold them, and facilitating recognition of the CTS program across geographical borders and industries. As the only certification program in the industry to be ANSI accredited, it will give CTS holders and their companies an edge up on competitors from other industries as well as those within our industry that do not train and certify their personnel to these high national and international standards.

For instance, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is now requiring its contractors who perform certain Information Assurance functions to be certified by credentialing bodies that have been independently accredited by a third party, such as ANSI.

Program 2: ANSI-ISO Performance Standards

In December 2006, InfoComm announced its intent to seek accreditation through ANSI to become a recognized standards-setting body. These standards will be developed as international standards, and as warranted, will be presented for adoption by the International Standards Organization (ISO). Grassroots Legislative Network:CEDIA's public-policy efforts are designed to support CEDIA members and ensure that their abilities to own and operate their business are not impeded.

The AV standards InfoComm intends to develop will focus on the physical measurements of systems performance, such as sound pressure levels and contrast ratios. The emphasis will be on system performance, not on individual product or technology standards. With these standards, designers can specify the output performance of systems and subsystems for customers, so that when the facility is put in use, system performance can be verified against these standards.

InfoComm will lead this activity, but the standards created will benefit the whole industry and its customers. These standards will be developed through a disciplined ANSI process to reach consensus among everyone involved with AV systems. Through rigorous debate and compromise, the industry will be able to establish standards that will guide designers, installers, and customers for years to come.

Benefits of Developing ANSI-ISO Standards

InfoComm’s plan to become an ANSI-recognized standards-setting body represents a dramatic next step in the association’s advancement of industry quality improvement programs. Standards are important for many reasons—they define a profession, allow a profession to regulate itself and the activities of its members, and help express the profession’s responsibility to the public. This new program will provide the industry with performance standards that AV companies can build their systems to meet, while giving the industry’s customers clear industry standards on which they can rely.

Who will be Responsible for these Programs?

InfoComm is, as always, committed to these programs being member- and industry-driven. Each program will have a committee of industry members that will guide these activities. ANSI requires such participation by industry members, and the association has established committees and procedures to always keep the focus on industry participation.

As InfoComm proceeds with these programs, there will be many types of opportunities for participation ranging from committee membership to participation in short information-gathering teleconferences. Look for future calls for volunteers.

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