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POV: Setting the Standard for Excellence

Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D


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InfoComm International has been recognized as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited standards developer. Standards developers accredited by ANSI meet the institute's requirements for openness, balance, consensus, and other due-process safeguards.

AV INDUSTRY'S PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY

In December 2005, InfoComm's Board of Governors put the development of standards in its 2005-2008 Strategic Plan. Then in December 2006, they adopted a proposal to establish a Performance Standards program. These boards had the foresight to recognize the need for a more professional identity for the AV industry. They realized that industry standards are a way to improve the industry and benefit consumers.

“ANSI recognition of InfoComm as a standards developer represents a dramatic next step in the association's advancement of industry quality improvement programs,” says Scott Walker, CTS-D, LEED AP, of Waveguide Consulting and chair of InfoComm's Standards Committee. “Standards define a profession, demonstrate a commitment to professional self-regulation, and acknowledge the profession's responsibility to the public.”

If AV is going to be recognized as a distinct industry and is going to continue to interact with other professions that rely on standards, such as the IT industry, standards will help garner the recognition and respect that the AV industry is entitled to. With chief information officers and IT personnel increasingly responsible for AV purchases, it has never been more important for the IT community to understand AV. The IT industry is firmly rooted in standards and will be able to relate more to AV professionals if our industry has its own set of standards. Standards will provide a level of comfort to IT pros, because there will be some assurance that systems can be integrated in a way that is reliable.

As a recognized ANSI-accredited standards developer, InfoComm's standards will be developed as international standards and, as warranted, will be presented for adoption by the International Standards Organization (ISO).

OVERALL SYSTEM PERFORMANCE

InfoComm's exclusive focus in standards development is on system performance, rather than individual product or technology standards. With the overall system performance the focal point, InfoComm 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.

An accredited third-party certification provides an advantage and an ability to meet a purchaser's or regulator's requirement for independent evaluation of compliance. As a result, this third-party certification provides an optional dimension for suppliers' risk-management systems.

STEERING PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

In December 2007, the InfoComm Board approved the development of two inaugural proposed standards: Sound Coverage, under the direction of Frederick J. Ampel, Technology Visions, and Projected Image. Through rigorous debate and compromise, the industry will be able to establish these and future standards that will guide designers, installers, and customers for years to come.

None of this would be possible without the vigorous efforts of the numerous industry volunteers who make up the Performance Standards Steering Committee.

InfoComm will lead this activity under its Performance Standards Committee, but the standards created will benefit the whole industry and its customers. All InfoComm standards will be developed through a disciplined ANSI process to reach consensus among everyone involved with AV systems. To learn more about InfoComm and standards, visit www.infocomm.org/standards.


Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D, is executive director of InfoComm International.



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