Quick Bio

Name: Christa Bender
Title: Account Manager
Company: Pivot Communications
In the Works: Currently, Pivot Communications is working to help clients improve their marketing efforts with intelligence and analytics, content creations, B2B marketing campaigns, and HubSpot consulting.

If you’ve ever baked a cake by throwing random ingredients together, chances are the result wasn’t edible. However, when you take the time to measure the ingredients, and bake at the correct temperature per the recipe, you are rewarded with a delicious dessert.

Designing and installing audio visual systems is a lot like baking: if you are missing the recipe—industry standards and certifications—you will not achieve the best possible outcome. Just like you don’t want to eat a gross piece of cake, you shouldn’t settle for providing and installing an audiovisual system that does not meet or exceed industry standards.

Why Standards and Certifications Matter to Integrators

Standards and certifications matter because they open doors to new opportunities, and help to increase your competitive advantage. When you incorporate industry norms into your work processes, you can achieve desired outcomes successfully and increase productivity.

Imagine designing and installing an audio system in a meeting space without applying industry standards—this project could take up extra resources and take longer to complete than if industry standards are reviewed and applied throughout the project’s lifecycle. Being aware of industry standards can help lessen the project’s complexity, as well as reduce the cost incurred by your company to design, install, commission, and train the end user on their new audio system. Industry standards are tried and true; when your company adopts them, you are providing your team with the tools to be knowledgeable, more efficient, more confident, and more credible.

AVIXA’s Standards Committee recommends standards development to the board of directors. They also act as AVIXA’s official ANSI consensus body.

Certifications are equally as important as following industry standards. Audiovisual industry certifications such as AVIXA’s CTS/CTS-D/CTS-I are a way for individuals to show that they have demonstrated audiovisual knowledge and skills. When you become CTS certified, you adhere to strict ethics and are required to maintain your certification with continued education. These designations are recognized worldwide and are ANSI accredited.

Why Standards and Certifications Matter to End Users

When you reach out to an integrator to help you with your technology needs, you expect them to be knowledgeable, reliable, and professional. To meet these and other expectations, you need to choose an integrator that adheres to the highest level of professionalism, and has industry certified staff. Companies that fall into that category are have high standards of ethics and conduct, are competent, and experienced to provide you with the technology solutions you need to make your meeting spaces more collaborative and to help your employees be more productive.

Regardless of whether you are bidding out a project or sole sourcing to your preferred integrator, as an end user, you can specify industry standards and certifications as a part of your project. For instance, you can specify the CTS credential or preference in your project description. Standards create high-quality AV systems with consistent, measurable performance according to AVIXA, and you should indicate specific standards as a part of your project (associations often provide a list of available standards on their websites). Asking your integrator to adhere to industry standards as well as industry certifications provides you with the ability to make an informed decision on whether they meet your criteria to successfully provide the technology solutions your organization needs.

Other Industry Certifications

While AVIXA represents the professional audiovisual industry worldwide, there are other certifications that can provide integrators and end users guidance for their systems.

CompTIA is one of the world’s leading technology associations. They provide certifications for IT networks and operational security.

BICSI is a worldwide association dedicated to cabling design and installation professionals. They are an ANSI accredited standards development organization whose standards affect voice, data, security, and audiovisual systems.

NSCA is the National Systems Contractors Association. They work with integrators, manufacturers, consultants, and architects as an advocate for low-voltage systems. NSCA is a business resource the helps companies maintain high standards of professional conduct and provides professional growth opportunities.

Additionally, there are many professional audio visual manufacturers that offer training and certifications on their products and solutions.

The More You Know

At the risk of sounding like a 1980s PSA, the more you know, the better you can be. This applies to companies and individuals. Taking the time to understand industry standards and earning certifications allows you to grow your knowledge base and provide the best professional solution to your end users.

I must confess: I hate baking, but love to cook. I am guilty of reading baking recipes, but never making them. I like to be knowledgeable, I just don’t apply my knowledge to baked goods.

Christa Bender, CTS, is an account manager at Pivot Communications, and an active industry volunteer. She can be found on Twitter@AVChrista.