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POV: Setting AV Standards

Jan 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D.


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Following its decision to seek American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation (as discussed in December's POV column), InfoComm International has announced its intent to become a recognized standards-setting body with the institute. The standards InfoComm intends to help create will be developed as international standards and, as warranted, they will be presented for adoption by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

ANSI is a private nonprofit 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 it is a representative of U.S. interests to regional, national, and international bodies. ANSI is also the U.S. representative to the 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 end users. InfoComm's commitment to working with these organizations will give the AV industry standing with other industries that use AV services and products.

Standards development is an integral part of the development of professions seeking to be recognized as legitimate and distinct. As the AV industry works closely with industries that use standards, such as architecture, IT, and telecommunications, it has become obvious that AV standards are necessary to grow the profession to the next level. InfoComm has already assembled a substantial body of knowledge through the development of its courses and best practices manuals, which makes becoming an ANSI standards-setting organization a logical next step.

This action 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 and give the industry's customers clear industry standards they can rely on. It is also part of a larger effort to align the association and the industry with world-class organizations.

Our affiliation with ANSI, ISO, and Project Management Institute, among others, gives our programs recognition and credibility that extends beyond the industry to our customers and the public.

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 when the facility is put into 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 all people 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.

To conduct this activity, InfoComm will be establishing a Standards Committee, and Joseph Bocchiaro III, Ph.D., CTS-D,CTS-I, will become director of the InfoComm Performance Standards program.

The ANSI standards program and the recently announced ANSI/ISO certification accreditation program, along with InfoComm's education, exhibitions, information services, and membership programs, all strive to help the AV communications industry grow. We hope you will join us as the AV industry continues to mature and thrive.


Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D., is the executive director of InfoComm International, a trade association for the professional audiovisual and information communications industries.



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