Do You Belong in AV/IT?
Mar 13, 2014 10:35 AM, By Cynthia Wisehart | Posted by Jessaca Gutierrez
Technical training may help you decide
For Depperschmidt, what’s happening in the market relates back to the standards effort. He sees that the AV industry is under increasing pressure to keep up with IT industry forces that are standardized. “In a small industry you can be about the magic you bring to the game. In the beginning you can carry that into partnerships with IT and voice partners—the ‘my magic is better than the next guy’s magic’ kind of thing. But there comes at time when the network world is going to demand something more formal than that. They just can’t deal with a cottage industry.” Depperschmidt was on an 11-person roster of AV industry colleagues who spent two years working on the new performance verification standard. “We were trying to set a benchmark level that was not so over the top that it was a burden, especially for the smaller designer or integrator who was not going to be working with a consultant,” he says.
The new ANSI/INFOCOMM 10-2013, Audiovisual Systems Performance Verification provides what InfoComm calls a comprehensive, systematic, and practical approach to verifying performance of AV systems. “This standard will provide practitioners the ability to produce a verifiable evaluation of the audiovisual system based on quality assurance, testing, and acceptance, and will ensure the system conforms to the owners’ operational needs, as established in the system/project documentation,” he says.
Depperschmidt says he feels that the standard helps ensure respect for AV expertise in a world where IT and voice companies may underestimate that expertise. With non-AV companies representing AV interests to clients—or choosing AV partners to work with—professional benchmarks may help protect AV skills and jobs. “But the standard is only as good as it’s adoption,” he cautions. “It’s only powerful if we make it powerful and move past individual best practices.”
Depperschmidt says that this is a good time for integrators to take aim for the future and not just let things happen. “You can choose to be a good AV integrator and your home is in the boardroom and you don’t try to be much more than that. That’s fine, that’s still a business.
“Companies like TI and AVI-SPL want to do more than just the room. They’re making a play to be the communication provider. Customers are going to be moving away from all these individual subcontractors and looking for people who can build and manage digital communication and full collaboration.”
Or the choice could be a middle ground, he says, like finding a local telephony company that’s about the size of a typical regional AV integrator—maybe someone who installs voice networks and PBX. “You bring your strength, they bring their strength, and together you can provide an entire communication and collaboration system to a client.
“The new world that we’re living in now is something integrators have to face and make choices about rather than being blindsided,” Depperschimdt says. One way to face a new world is training, and not all network training and certification is the same. “There is the network infrastructure aspect—building the roads, bridges, stop signs. And then there is an entirely different discipline about how traffic runs on the network. If you want to be involved full collaboration, look for those types of courses: how to manage traffic and understand the parameters,” Depperschmidt says.
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