In Search of Better Standards

  • In this issue we report that InfoComm International has become an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Accredited Standards Developer. InfoComm's standards will be developed as international standards and, as warranted, will be presented for adoption by the International Standards Organization (ISO).
  • According to the news release, "InfoComm's exclusive focus in standards development is on system performance, rather than individual product or technology standards. This program will provide the industry with performance standards that AV companies can build their systems to meet, while giving the industry's customers clear industry standards on which they can rely."
  • This news is the culmination of years of hard work on the part of InfoComm. Ten years back, InfoComm already had in place its own standards programs, but success and growth now means operating in an international arena. ANSI accreditation provides the structure to do that more effectively. InfoComm has now joined an elite group of roughly twenty organizations that have gotten ANSI Accredited Standards Developer status.
  • Involvement in ANSI is about two related but separate initiatives: workforce Certification and Accreditation; and Performance Standards. Building toward the establishment of performance standards is contingent on the establishment of ANSI standards for workforce Certification and Accreditation (to both improve certification programs and eliminate the need for duplicate certification in the industry). The Performance Standards in the sights of InfoComm are: Sound Coverage; and Projected Image.
  • As Tom Stimson recently reminded me in a conversation on the new development, "ANSI Standards are not specs, they are how the spec are measured. So InfoComm won't be telling manufacturers what's good or not, the Standard will simply define how a spec is represented," Stimson explained. "For example, ANSI Lumens are a specific method for measuring light output that is standardized."
  • The ANSI standards writing process is open for comment and feedback. Anyone can contribute to a standard or review a standard. Some typically take years to develop, and the idea is that the entire industry has ample chance to participate.
  • Subsequent to the InfoComm announcement, my friend and colleague Alan Brawn has just been selected to head up the committee dealing with the "Projected Image" standard.
  • And the "Sound Coverage" initiative will be under the direction of industry veteran Fred Ampel.
  • ETSA has been writing standards for years for the lighting and rigging world. This is a great development for AV systems, video projection, and sound. And do remember that ANSI standards writing process is open, so interested parties can be involved.