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Understanding Real-world Applications

Jan 13, 2011 9:59 AM, By Cynthia Wisehart


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Happy New Year.

This month, former SVC Editor Mark Johnson rejoins us from his vantage point of church volunteer. A longtime AV professional, he is also one of eight AV volunteers at Hilltop Community Church, a midsized church with relatively intelligent AV capabilities. They’re not a megachurch with media ministry, but they are media- and music-aware; they use both, and they built their new facility with AV in mind.

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The voting is complete for the 26th annual TEC Awards. Next month, the TEC Foundation for Excellence in Audio will present to the winners for the first time during NAMM on Jan. 14 in Anaheim, Calif. ...

We felt this was a good example of the kind of opportunity you may encounter in your business. We understand that the success of many worship installations comes down to what volunteers can and cannot do. A system cannot overestimate the team’s ability, but underestimating it is a mistake too. And churches are certainly not the only environment where the AV team is made up of nonprofessionals.

With this in mind, understanding the real-world application of our systems is more important than ever. So is understanding the motivation for a customer to have a system to begin with. How will they measure success? How will they build a business or a community around the system you design or supply? What will they be able to do with the system that will materially affect their success?

In the context of worship, the volunteer is a big part of that equation, because they will either be inhibited by a system or they will thrive and learn. Systems that are used a lot get upgraded, so we thought some practical insight into the day-to-day volunteer operations might give you a new way to think about your customers.

Like many of our markets, the worship market is changing. People are more frugal and looking more sharply at why exactly they need AV and what exactly they will do with it. They are setting measurable goals for return on their AV investment.

At the same time, buyers are getting more sophisticated about understanding why AV is so vital to their larger goals. After an initial period of thinking that AV was an easy budget cut—a frill—the necessity of AV is starting to show. So this month, we also looked at two other midsize churches and the very deliberate application of AV in these facilities. A primary goal is to stem the disaffection of young churchgoers and to build community in a way that resonates. So a church lobby outfitted with a nightclub- or coffee house-style sound system? Why not? It’s a way of tapping into how people mingle and what makes them linger and feel comfortable.

From a technical standpoint, we’re touching on two increasingly important categories for worship: streaming devices and wireless mics. We’ll do more starting next month to contextualize both streaming and live applications because presentation systems increasingly spill over to require live production, postproduction, and distribution.

We hope these stories will help you formulate design and sales strategies for your worship customers.



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