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InfoComm’s CAVSP Program Creates “Friendly Pressure” Among Integrators

Apr 12, 2007 12:00 AM, By John McKeon

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At Audio-Visual Innovations (AVI), the corporate decision to pursue Certified Audio Visual Solutions Provider (CAVSP) accreditation for as many of the company’s locations as possible touched off what Communications Manager Kristie Kidder calls a friendly but lively competition among the more than 20 AVI facilities.

AVI recently announced that its offices in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, and its Florida office in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa have all achieved the highest level of certification under the CAVSP program administered by InfoComm International and the International Communications Industries Association (ICIA).

AVI is part of a major groundswell, Infocomm says. The association recently announced that more than 250 locations in 17 nations have achieved CAVSP certification—a gain of 50 percent in just the last year. ICIA President Randal A. Lemke, PhD, says this enthusiasm reflects recognition that “a CAVSP designation gives AV companies a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

To achieve this “gold” level CAVSP designation, as the AVI facilities have, a company must show that 75 percent of all sales, customer service, and technical staff at a given site have and maintain InfoComm International certification. In addition, the company must agree to ten “Standards of Excellence” published by InfoComm. While individuals in the industry can earn the various CTS credentials offered by InfoComm, the CAVSP distinction applies to individual facilities. In some cases, Kidder says, AVI has as many as 250 staff in its local and regional offices, so achieving 75 percent individual certification is no small accomplishment.

As the various offices embraced the goal, she says, “They’re always calling me, asking who’s first, where do they stand. Our 20 offices are very competitive with each other, and that’s good. Within an office, they’re putting friendly pressure on those who don’t have the CTS.”

At another major national integration firm, SPL Integrated Solutions, VP/Marketing Jerry Gale recalls the decision was made early in 2007 to pursue CAVSP for as many SPL offices as possible. The motivation, Gale says, was two-fold. “One reason is that is forces us to keep our employees trained, which means better service to our clients. The second reason is that it establishes our expertise with prospects. We have been seeing more and more proposals asking if we are CAVSP. It seems that in a few cases, an integrator has to be CASVP in order to bid on a proposal.”

SPL expects its CAVSP accreditation to pay off in PR and marketing terms, but Gale says that to emphasize the image-related benefits of the program is “to put the cart before the horse.” Mainly, he stresses, the company has pursued CAVSP to satisfy client requests at individual offices.

Client interests are also paramount, says Jim Colquhoun, CTS-I, vice president/Technical Services at AVI. “Achieving the CASVP designation means that our clients can rely on the fact that they are working with the best trained and most knowledgeable audiovisual communications team in the industry,” he says.

Kidder says that more than just technical staffers are embracing the program. “Our sales people are going after this too,” she says, “because accreditation heightens their ability to interact with clients throughout a project life cycle.”

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