Scope Gaps in the Standard AV Consultation Model

11/6/2015 6:36:00 PM
By Bill McIntosh and David Vargo
At BrightTree Studios, we feel there are significant scope gaps in the standard AV consultant model. We see a need to fulfill additional responsibilities that both the standard AV consultant and the client are scared to touch. Not only is there a need to stay engaged throughout the entire process, but there is also a demand for our expertise well beyond the building’s opening. While we feel there are at least seven scope gaps in the standard AV consultant model, below is an example of three:

Digital Signage Content: It’s common for AV consultants to specify building-wide digital signage solutions as it provides clients the ability to display relevant information and branding in a sexy package. However, all too often, the content is an afterthought, and the content that is pushed to the displays is subpar and unprofessional, which leads to unsatisfied clients. It’s our responsibility as AV consultants to provide turnkey solutions. We don’t provide audio processors or control systems that are inoperable, so why would we do that with digital signage?

Programming: As AV consultants, we sit through numerous visioning sessions with all of the key project stakeholders leading technology and user interface discussions. We spend months, if not years, learning and helping define the space’s purpose and objectives. With all of this knowledge, the standard consulting model will then issue a bid package and expect an AV integrator that has no familiarity with the project to absorb the desired space functionality by reading a single document. No one is more prepared to address user-interface programming as the AV consultant, so why are most consulting firms not providing the interface design as an additional service?

Prototyping: We live on the cutting edge, and if you’re involved in innovative projects, possibly the bleeding edge. And bleeding edge needs testing. Manufacturer specification sheets that the manufacturer’s marketing group creates are great starting points, but unfortunately, some details seem to get lost during the communication transfer. We feel that having the ability to mock up and test the bleeding-edge technology prior to the AV integrator installing the gear onsite helps ensure that the design will meet the promises made to the client. You need to ferret out the risks, and prototyping is the only way to guarantee you are providing the desired functionality.
Bill McIntosh is CEO of BrightTree Studios. David Vargo is managing principal at BrightTree Studios. 

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