Audio and video systems integration has become an important part of our lives, even though you might not immediately see it. From home entertainment systems to large corporate meetings, audiovisual systems have become staples in leisure and business. The process and expertise that goes into getting these systems up and running often goes underappreciated. We think it is important for you to know the role that AV Systems Integrators play in the corporate space, especially if you are ever in the position where your organization needs to upgrade audiovisual systems such as in-house meeting room audio and video, paging systems, or even if you’d like to, for example, transform traditional mainstays like company bulletin boards into modern digital versions using video screens. The reason for this is that most organizations’ AV needs can’t be addressed with self-serve, off-the-shelf equipment. Let’s explore this role further.
What is AV Integration?
Audiovisual (AV) integration is the overarching term to describe the process of designing and installing a complete and comprehensive audiovisual system that meets a client’s carefully specified needs and planned budget–and this whether that system uses traditional analog cabling end to end, or Audio Video over Internet Protocol (AVoIP). That process can also be applied to an analog cable type of connection; like end-to-end cabling found in a small huddle room, for example), The process typically involves the installation and configuration of multiple audio and video components, including speakers, amplifiers, microphones, cameras, displays, and other control peripherals.
But that description doesn’t really get at the whole picture. AV integration is not just about putting together a bunch of components. It is a process and field that requires the skill, expertise, and experience of a team of AV professionals to ensure that the project is carried out to success on time and on budget and that it leads to great AV experiences for the users of that system.
The term AV Systems Integrator is often used to describe either an individual (or a company) that is responsible for planning, designing, and installing audiovisual systems. The integrator’s role is to ensure that the system meets the client’s needs and is installed in the most efficient and cost-effective way, and sometimes even providing technical support after the system is up and running.
Why you should know the role of who you’re dealing with
When it comes to AV integration, it is important to know who you are dealing with. An experienced AV Systems Integrator will be able to provide practical advice and guidance out in the field to clients ensure that the system meetings the specifications that the
An AV Systems Integrator will be knowledgeable about the latest technologies, as well as how to choose and combine the best solutions for the client’s needs. They will have the experience and expertise to plan and implement the system that is specified up front to meet clients’ needs–including if supply chain issues force component substitutions on the fly.
Furthermore, often an AV integrator can provide a complete package of services to the client. This includes everything from consultation and design, to procurement, installation, configuration, testing, documentation, training, maintenance, project management, coordination with other trades, and upgrades. All this to help your organization get the full benefit from their investment.
When the AV Systems Integrator acts as a consultant, they will ask the client questions about the project requirements to clearly identify the best-suited solutions for the project. The integrator will then work with the client and inform them (often with a detailed project plan) about the projected scope of the project, as well as the cost and timeline.
The consultation process is an important part of the AV integration process, as these systems are all about the proper technology configured the right way to deliver the AV experiences that are promised.
After the consultation process is complete, the AV Systems Integrator will design a system that meets the client’s needs and budget. The design process typically involves selecting the appropriate components and equipment, as well as creating a detailed diagram that outlines the system architecture and its functionalities. It is at this point that supply chain realities can either let the project move forward as planned or move to necessary product substitutions.
The integration specialist will work to provide the client with a detailed cost and timeline for the project, as well as any other relevant information.
Once the design process is complete, the integrator will source the required components and equipment for the system from the best suppliers. This includes everything from speakers, amplifiers, and microphones, to cameras, displays, and other peripherals.
In this phase, the systems integrator will act as the steward for delivery timelines, checking in to make sure that if there are supply chain issues, that other options are explored. Oftentimes there will be considerations about procuring any relevant software licenses and preparing the site for the imminent project.
Once the components and equipment are on-site the AV Systems Integrator will lead the efforts to install all components and equipment on the client’s premises. This includes installing all cabling, building component racks, mounting all equipment, and connecting the system.
As the installation process is nears the finish line, commissioning and configuration comes into the picture, so that the system is vetted for optimum performance. This includes setting audio levels, adjusting video settings, and configuring the system for network connectivity.
Once the system is configured, the integration specialist will perform various tests to ensure the system is working properly and vetted for optimum performance. This includes audio tests, video tests, and other tests to ensure the system is functioning as expected. This is an important step since these systems are a significant investment and carry a significant weight in terms of being the center of hybrid meetings and collaboration. The client wants these systems to be functional and easy-to-use. Often what some people perceive as system limitations, are really just errors or inconsistencies in configuration.
Documentation and Training
Once the testing phase is complete, some integrators will go to great lengths to provide the proper documentation and necessary training to the client’s staff to help them understand the system and its capabilities. This includes providing information on how to use the system in the day-to-day, troubleshooting tips, forecasting software updates, and more.
The training process is an important part of the AV integration process, as it helps to ensure that the client’s staff is fully aware of the general workings of the system and its capabilities and can eliminate much frustration and lost time and money.
Depending on the contract and engagement with the AV integrator, the organization will have access to ongoing system maintenance and support services. This is not always included in the contract scope, but this may include troubleshooting any issues that may arise, as well as providing advice and guidance on any system firmware and software upgrades.
Project Management and Coordination with Other Trades
As a project manager, an AV integrator can take charge of coordinating the various aspects of the audiovisual installation, including design, engineering, procurement, installation, testing, and commissioning. They can liaise with the client and other stakeholders to ensure that all requirements and expectations are met, and that the project is delivered on time and within budget. Additionally, they can oversee the work of other trades involved in the
project, such as electricians and carpenters, to ensure that the audiovisual components are seamlessly integrated with other building systems. By serving as a single point of contact for the project, they can simplify the communication process, reduce the risk of miscommunication, and provide a more streamlined and efficient installation process.
As technologies evolve and new components and equipment are developed, such as the trend towards tech ecosystems, where components provide a base platform where software and firmware provide the bulk of feature updates and improvements. A good AV Systems Integrator will advise the client on how these updates can help evolve their system over time, as well as provide the necessary support.
A pivotal role to play
In conclusion, it is clear to see that an AV Systems Integrator is an important, immutable role in getting systems from the traditional analog-cabled AV setup to high-tech, networked AV ecosystem planned and installed in your organization. The top professionals in their field are an invaluable source of knowledge, expertise, and experience that will ensure that your needs are understood and that the solution is designed, delivered, installed, and commissioned correctly, and that it continues to operate at peak performance throughout its lifecycle.
If you are ramping up for an important project, sign up for more of these types of info pieces, as well as deeper dives into the process of bringing these systems to life. If you’re in the process of re-evaluating what your current meeting room AV setup can give, you, contact us. We can help you determine the best AV Integrator for your organization, ensuring that the system you need is brought up in ways that maximize your investment in these key components of moder meetings and collaboration.